On Monday, May 23, 2022, many silent tears were shed at a candlelight vigil at the Dunnville bridge in honour of the unknown baby girl that was found by fishermen in the marshes on Tuesday, May 17.
For the purposes of this vigil, the baby was named Anahita after a river and water goddess who is graceful, pure, and without fault.
Eleasha Topolniski, along with Jessica Bathurst, coordinated the event. Topolniski said they coordinated this “because no one else was doing anything and this girl deserved more; she deserved something. She was just a child. If no one in her family is mourning her, then we as a community are going to.”
The child has remained unidentified since being discovered around 1:22 p.m. on May 17.
A post-mortem examination was conducted May 19 at the Forensic Services and Coroner’s Complex in Toronto, which concluded that the girl had been in the water for some time and is between 10.5 months to 2.5 years old. No further details were provided as to the cause of death, and additional testing was scheduled.
Pastor Dawn Ballantyne from South Cayuga Community Church attended the vigil to share words of love and encouragement to those gathered as they paid tribute to the young girl, along with first responders and those who found her. She said, “Our hearts are broken over the discovery of this little girl and we long to wrap her in our loving embrace. We trust, almighty creator, that she rests easy in your everlasting arms, that she is restored and knows your peace now…. May she feel the warmth and love surrounding her from this crowd tonight and may those who are gathered here find comfort and strength standing shoulder to shoulder with their neighbours, united by this little girl, united by love.”