The newborn twins had died in cruelty, wrapped in brown paper and abandoned in a vermin-filled Bronx alley, but dozens of cops desperate to find out who killed them have made sure the babies had a final, peaceful farewell.
Around 20 NYPD officers, mostly detectives, turned out at the East End Funeral Home in the Williamsbridge section of The Bronx Saturday for a funeral they arranged in honor of the infants, whom they named Zeke and Zane.
“Zeke is short for Ezekiel which means, ‘God’s strength,’ and Zane means ‘God’s Gift,’” said Lt. William O’Toole, a veteran homicide officer who said the twins’ case has impacted all who’ve worked on it.
“I have never seen a case like this,” he told The Post. “These were two newborn babies who were full term and then put in garbage bags and thrown in a rat infested backyard. Their little bodies had fractures. This has weighed heavy on every detective that has worked on the case.”
Zeke and Zane were placed in a single white casket, adorned with a bouquet of white flowers and a large blue bow. Wreaths with blue and white ribbons, teddy bears — one white and one blue — and white and blue balloons sat nearby.
“Those beautiful children are back home where they belong — heaven,” said Father John Aurilia of Immaculate Conception RC Church, who conducted the service.
Officers and nearby residents were in tears as children’s songs played throughout the memorial service, which was paid for with New York State Victim Services funds.
“I’m a mother and a grandmother, I felt hurt and as I was sitting in there. They were playing little kids’ songs, ‘The Wheels on the Bus,’ and I’m just singing along with it and I almost cried,” said Deshawn Lopez, 51. “I’m glad that they are at peace now.”
Another neighbor brought flowers, and stuffed toys. Bagpipes played. Six officers, three on each side, carried the casket to a waiting white hearse. Police saluted as it drove off to lay the twins in their final resting place.
Officers have searched high and low for the mother of the identical twins, checking hospitals as far away as New Jersey and Pennsylvania. There is a $12,000 reward for information about the case.
“We still work on the case everyday. We are hoping that we can get a DNA match,” said O’Toole, who begged anyone with information to come forward as he wondered allowed what lead to the children’s grisly end.
“We are going on follow up on every tip and hopefully we’d be able to find the mother of these children,” he said, adding, “Why would she do this? What kind of desperate situation was she in? Was she forced to do it? Was she alone? Whatever the situation, we are there to help her.”
The babies were less than 24 hours old when their bodies were discovered last November by a Bronx building super. They were found roughly 20 feet apart near a six-story College Avenue building in Claremont.
One of the newborns was partially covered in a pet training pad — with apparent head trauma and his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck — in a janitorial work area on the side of the building. The other was discovered 20 feet away, bound in a black plastic bag with no visible injuries, in the back of the building, sources and the superintendent said.
”It’s almost a year later and we haven’t given up,” Det. Shamika Thomas of the 44th precinct told The Post. “We continue to fight and try to solve this for the babies. We are still working hard from day one to now on this case.”
The super who found the bodies of the babies, and who gave his name as Johnny, did not attend the funeral but called in on speakerphone to talk to one of the detectives at the service.
“Thank you,” he told the detective. “I know you are going to solve this evil thing.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers, at 1-800-577-TIPS.
Additional reporting by Dean Balsamini