Home Local News Community comes together to remember ‘Baby Richmond’

Community comes together to remember ‘Baby Richmond’

Balloons and stuffed animals line a fence at Discount Grocery in East Rockingham as a memorial to a newborn boy whose body was found near the railroad tracks on Jan. 26. Photos by Betty Gallo McIntyre - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — A somber vigil, which brought many to tears, was held on Feb. 4 to remember the newborn baby boy that was found dead the previous week.

According to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the child’s body was found near the railroad tracks between 9th Avenue Aleo and South Street on Thursday, Jan. 26 after a call was made to the 911 Center.

A week later, investigators charged 27-year-old Kimberly Dawn Harris with an open count of murder and failing to report or concealing a death.

The candlelight vigil began at 5 p.m. on the grounds of Discount Grocery in East Rockingham as heartbroken and concerned citizens arrived, bringing balloons, stuffed animals, flowers and other items to the memorial site for “Baby Richmond.”

Several family members and deputies from the sheriff’s office also attended.

Jada Tyler and Misty Benson wanted to do something special for the baby and mentioned their desire to James McDougald who organized the event.

McDougald is a member of New Life Church of Deliverance in Hamlet. He opened the event thanking everyone for coming out and, in tears, mentioned how it broke his heart that the baby was all alone.

“To me, it was the right thing to do as a community in remembering Baby Richmond,” McDouglad said. “I have three girls and one baby boy who is 6 months old. The mom discarded the baby, and we as a community should take the baby on.”

McDougald wanted to give the baby a name, so he decided “Baby Richmond” would be perfect. “I want us to just show this baby love, not for it to be swept under the rug.”

Bishop Sam Davis of New Life Church of Deliverance opened in prayer: “I could only grieve to see a child that was left alone without an opportunity for life.”

He quoted the scripture from Matthew 19:14 where Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Davis continued as he said, “There was a root to this; don’t go home criticizing this mother. Pray and ask God to give her conviction and deliverance. Remember Kimberly, and pray for God to also touch her mind and heart as well as renewing her spirit.”

The baby’s grandmother, great-grandmother and a few aunts attended the vigil.

“I just want to ask our community to pray for the mother and families,” said Lisa Williams, one of the aunts. “I want to thank everyone that came out to show their love and support.”


Another aunt, Lori Brown, added, “She was my sweet niece, but just got lost in this world.”

Many attendees reached out to the family with a hug and encouragement.

During McDougald’s message, he asked if anyone wanted to say something.

Margaret Harriett spoke up, “Drugs are a dark world; find someone and get them some help.”

During closing, Davis said, “We request prayers for the mother, Kimberly Harris. She, along with many others suffer from addictions; they have souls and need help. We challenge the church to stand up; the harvest is here.”

Davis then quoted the scripture from Luke 5:31 which says, “Jesus answered them and said, ‘They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.’”

McDougald closed by speaking about the state’s Safe Surrender law. and encouraging all to get informed about it and help to get others some help.

North Carolina’s Safe Surrender Law, passed in 2001, allows a parent to surrender a newborn up to seven days old to a responsible adult without the parent providing his or her name. It aims to prevent newborns from being hurt or abandoned. For more information regarding Safe Surrender, contact the local Department of Social Services, law enforcement, a health care provider, or emergency medical personnel.

“Maybe your outreach efforts can help someone get off drugs,” McDougald said. “If it takes every breath in my body, I’m going to reach someone.”

Harris is being held without bond in the Richmond County Jail and is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 16. All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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