Unnamed, unknown for months, and whose death is shrouded in mystery, an infant who may never have drawn a breath in this mortal world, was memorialized Wednesday night in a candlelight vigil in Austin Park.
There were words of compassion for Christina M. Colantonio, the 28-year-old Liberty Street woman charged with murder in the second degree even as the District Attorney's Office hedges on its claim of sufficient evidence to proceed with a criminal complaint, and greater compassion expressed for the female infant who may have been stillborn, or may have been killed by her own mother, but either way, whose birth was reportedly kept secret, her body hidden in her mother's apartment for about three months.
"Tonight, we're not just out here to remember a life that really didn't have that chance (to make a decision for Christ)," said Pastor Jason Norton. "We're not going to see her pretty face run and skip in this world, and we're not going to hear her pretty voice, and we're not going to experience her here.
"But people, I tell you, she has been received into the heavenlies. I tell you, if you want to know her, then just accept Jesus and believe in him and one day you also will be there and you'll be able to embrace her."
After Norton spoke -- the last of several speakers -- the 40 or 50 people gathered carried their lit candles over to Norton's church in City Center for a reception.
Norton said their candles represented a light in this world to battle the darkness.
"I believe with all of my heart that what we're doing tonight is just not to remember her precious life, and that's why we're here primarily, but we're also here to make a bold statement to our city. We're here to make a bold statement to this region, to this community, that darkness and evil shall not prevail and have its way in this area. Amen. (Amen.) We are making a bold declaration tonight."
Earlier, Pastor Tim Young called on those assembled to pray for Colantonio and her family.
"We're here today to encourage each other," Young said. "We're here to help the family, to give them comfort in this time of need, to help them in whatever we can, to love them, as Christ loves us.
"I encouage each and every one of you in whatever way you can to reach out to this family, to Christina, also, because this lady, woman, needs lots of prayer," Young added. "She needs lots of prayer. The family needs lots of prayer. We need to help and support them in any way we can."
Tammy Arneth, of All Babies Cherished, expressed concern that an expectant mother in the community might not know of the free resources her agency provides.
The agency can help new mothers with emotional support as well as material needs, all for free, but new parents are expected to take some classes through the program.
"It breaks my heart that maybe Christina didn't know to come to see us," Arneth said, adding later, "We had more than 900 visits last year alone and obviously that wasn't enough, because if somebody in this community doesn't know to come to us for services, then we're not doing the job."
The donated stuffed toys will be given to Batavia PD so officers can hand them out to children who might need the tender care they represent in times of crisis.
Attendees had a chance to sign cards for the baby's family.
Pastor Tim Young
Pastor Jason Norton
Tammy Arneth speaking.
Stephanie Armstrong with a closing song.