Callers Offer to Buy Headstone for Baby : Burial: Gifts are placed on the grave of an infant found dead in a portable toilet. Police search for the mother.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

An infant whose body was found last month at the bottom of a portable outdoor toilet near an onion field in Saticoy may get a tombstone for his unmarked grave in Ventura.

The baby was buried Tuesday in a brief ceremony, attended only by a minister, at a site that was bought by the county public administrator's office. The burial plot at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park did not include a headstone.

But officials at the cemetery said they have received about 10 telephone calls from people who read about the burial of the baby, known only as Baby Boy Sanchez. Three of the callers offered to buy a tombstone for the baby.

Helen Walker, a counselor at the cemetery, said most of the people who called asked if they could leave flowers on the grave.

"They are very upset," she said. "It bothers them that this has happened."

Walker said the people who have offered to buy the headstone want to remain anonymous.

Otto Schimmel, managing director of Guardian Memorial Services of Oxnard, the funeral service that was hired by the county to bury the baby, said his office has also received calls from people who want to help.

"There were just so many calls," he said. "It's unbelievable."

Meanwhile, Ventura County sheriff's investigators are still looking for the mother of the baby, who they believe fled to Mexico after giving birth in a toilet near a Saticoy onion field.

Investigators believe she dropped the newborn into the chemicals and fecal material inside the toilet. The death is being considered a homicide because the coroner's investigation determined that the baby was alive at birth and died after inhaling the human waste.

Sheriff's deputies have declined to identify the woman, except to say she is a Mexican transient in her early 20s. But mortuary officials said the mother was identified on the death certificate as Francisca Sanchez of Oxnard.

On Friday, the grave site of Baby Boy Sanchez was covered with flower arrangements, baby toys and sympathy cards.

A card attached to a single rose said: "To Baby Boy Sanchez: God will love you like your mother who couldn't."

Another card attached to a teddy bear and a large flower arrangement said: "Maybe this is the beginning of a new and more meaningful life without all the pain that most people on earth are subject to."

A small box that held a tiny teddy bear, a night light and a cassette tape of children's lullabies was also left on the grave.

A note on the box said:

"Here are some things that we thought every child should have. Here are some lullabies to sing you to sleep at night, a night light to help you find your way in the dark and a teddy bear to hold onto if ever you should be afraid."

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