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Fight for justice in baby’s death continues 50 years

The deaths of young children always are horrific. But for a parent to leave a newborn baby for dead and then allow that child to remain nameless for 50 years is simply heartless.

It was 50 years ago today, July 2, 1970, that the remains of a week-old baby girl were found near a dirt road off Lynnwood Drive in Hermitage, Pa., just across from the Trumbull County line near Hubbard Township. Back then, the city of Hermitage was known as Hickory Township.

The baby had been born less than a week earlier and had received medical care consistent with that provided in a hospital, investigators determined. Sadly, police never were able to identify her, and her death remains unsolved, according to Joel Ristvey, deputy chief of the Hermitage Police Department.

Today, officers say they have the technology to solve the cold case, and they are moving forward with the investigation.

But for now, Ristvey is making an emotional appeal via a social media video, hoping to encourage the parents to come forward.

“We would like to speak from the heart to the person who laid the baby down off Lynnwood Drive … near Swamp Road (now Broadway Avenue, state Route 760) at the Taylor Sand Banks parking area, 50 years ago,” Ristvey said during the videotaped message. “The DNA will tell us who placed the baby there that day. But … it won’t tell us why.

“I want to give you this opportunity to come talk to me, to give you the chance to explain to your family and friends before the DNA results come back.”

We are pleased to see Mercer County officials taking this proactive step to put closure to this sad, unsolved case. The video attempting to encourage the parents to come forward is compelling and well-done. We hope it works.

But if it does not, we hope the case still is solved soon and that the parents or those responsible are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

If someone reading this editorial has information about the case, they are encouraged to call Ristvey at 724-983-6782, extension 3.

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