HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - You don't know him. You've never even seen him. Yet he is the subject of what is arguably the most recognized cold case homicide in Horry County history.
The effort to find the mother of Baby Boy Horry has been unsuccessful, so far. WMBF News Anchor David Klugh investigated why, with the odds so heavily stacked against them, this case still captures the attention and the hopes of investigators and the community.
It was a warm day, pushing the 70-degree mark, on Thursday, December 4, 2008. Fog had likely settled into the power company right-of-way just off Highway 544 in Conway. Someone went there, unseen, and pulled a bag from their car. In it was a newborn baby boy, Baby Boy Horry, as he's since been named, who likely died right there.
Out of that death has emerged a pre-occupation within this community with finding the truth. Everyone in law enforcement across the Grand Strand knows the details of this case. In fact, most have taken the case beyond the office or the cruiser.
"It's a baby," says Horry County Police Sgt. Robert Kegler. "My wife and I even talked about this. We have no money and even less room, but we would have taken him in a heartbeat. You know what I'm saying. I mean there's people who want babies. It is personal."
How a new mother could be so cruel, how a new father could look the other way, and how no one in either parents' circle of family and friends could resist the urge to say something to someone is beyond understanding for most.
"Honestly, it could be anybody," Kegler says. "Anybody that was here on vacation, anyone who just came to the beach from a surrounding area, some place in North Carolina, some place in this state to have a baby away from their family and then make the decision that they did - you know, the possibilities are endless."
The unknown nature of this case may be why it remains a point of interest in the community, from the annual Baby Boy Horry memorial services held every year at the Conway cemetery where he's buried, to the way even the county coroner responds when talking about this abandoned baby.
"I don't think we've ever had a situation like that for Horry County," says Horry County Coroner, Robert Edge. "And again, it's a child that could have had a very good life. The doctor who did the autopsy said that he was very viable, healthy...may have needed just a little bit of medical attention when he was delivered, and he would most likely be here enjoying the day with us."
The best leads remain the "Bath and Body Works" canvas bag he was wrapped in and the DNA profile collected from the baby. That DNA will prove critical if a match is found to the mother or father.
"You never know when the mother or the father are just going to say 'enough is enough,'" Kegler says. You know, Baby Boy Horry isn't going away. He's going to continue to get a memorial service every year. He's going to continue to be made in the news. It could go to where the guilt, they can't take it anymore."
And no one would have believed the community would still be trying to solve this case more than four years after this dead child was first found.
"You know when you get pregnant, you gain weight and your body size changes," says Edge. "And you always have a close girlfriend that you talk to a close friend. And sooner or later these things leak out. But I just never thought that it would have gone on this long without us finding out who the baby's mother and father are."
There is still a reward being offered by a private donor who was touched by this story. That person asked that the amount not be made public.
Horry County Coroner Robert Edge says the annual memorials to Baby Boy Horry will continue. He too is hoping the publicity surrounding this case will eventually convince the mother to come forward.
A memorial was held Saturday, Nov. 30 at 1:30 p.m., organized by the Horry County Coroner's Office. Rolling Thunder SC3 will host another memorial service the next day, December 1 at 1 p.m. Both services will be at Baby Boy Horry's grave site in the Hillcrest Cemetery on Highway 544.