Monday, June 27, 2005

Body of Infant found in gravel pit, unburied

This sad story was published by the Ypsilanti Daily Press on Thursday, June 26, 1930.

A prematurely born baby was found dead in a gravel pit about four miles southeast of Ypsilanti Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 p. m. The body was discovered in a small pool of water in a pit on the Ford property by two workmen, Ben Rats and R. L. Bennett.

The two men, Ford employees, were working with tractors in an adjoining field, when Rats stopped at the end near the pit. Supplies for the tractor had been placed on the bank and while there Rats noticed a number of rags a few feet below him which at first he thought were wiping cloths from the trators which had been thrown away. Looking closer he noticed flies on the cloths. This excited his couriosity and he called the fact to Bennett's attentioin when he returned from his next round.

Upon looking further, from their position on the bank, the two men saw the body of a baby floating face downward in one of the pools of water several feet away. Apparently no attempt had been made to cover the body.

Chief of Police Ralph Southard responded to a call from the workmen and summoned Deputy Sheriff James Dunstan of Ann Arbor to work on the case.

Corner Edwin Ganghorn was called to the scene later and he ordered the body taken to the University of Michigan Hospital.

The chief clue to the finding of those responsible is a number of footprints made in the hard surface of the gravel pit. The rains had packed the bottem of the pit hard, and in this a man's footprints are plainly visible. The size of the footprint indicates about a number eight shoe.

The baby, prematurely born, is believed to be developed about seven months. Indications are that the body had not been there more than a day. However, with recent rains and hot weather the time element is difficult to determine exactly. The body had been in water apparently all of the time and had become distorted and swollen.

The gravel pit is located on the Ford property along the Huron River and within a short distance of the proposed dam site, about four miles southseast of Ypsilanti on the River Road. Gravel from the pit had been used for roads abd other work and a large quantity had been taken out as part of the gravel was of inferior quality, this poor material had been left in piles. Between these piles water had collected from recent rains, and the body lay in one of the small pools.

Questioning physicians has so far failed to reveal information as to the possible parentage of the child. If the mother is a local woman, her weakened condition should lead to discovery of her identity. There is possibility that the body might have been brought to the abandoned gravel pit from a distance, but no automobile tracks leading to the place were visible.


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