MERIDEN – Thirty years after day-old infant David Paul was found frozen to death at the base of a tree, local police, clergy and citizens gathered to show he has not been forgotten.
“It was a shock,” said retired Meriden Police Chief Robert Kosienski, speaking at a ceremony for David Paul held at First United Methodist Church. “The questions that went through my mind were ‘how and why.’ ”
“This case will always be open until David Paul’s mother is found,” Kosienski continued, stressing that the department hoped to bring closure for David Paul and the city, not to punish the mother. “In God’s eye’s and heart, I’m sure she is forgiven.”
Even 30 years after his death, Kosienski said he and other retired police officers are dedicated to remembering David Paul.
“We made a promise and commitment,” he said.
Pointing out that many of the officers in attendance are younger than David Paul would have been today, Kosienski said the ceremony shows new officers, “the department has a heart and that we care.”
After David Paul was found at the base of a tree on Jan. 2, 1988, the Meriden Police Department unofficially adopted the child and named him “David Paul” for its biblical meaning of “God’s Beloved Little Man.”
Every year since, the police and community have gathered for a service and visit to his grave at Walnut Grove Cemetery. Eight members of the department’s honor guard stood on each side of the grave Tuesday, as clergy, Kosienski and Meriden Police Chief JeffryCossette paid their respects.
“We as a police department were tragically affected,” said Cossette, the last officer on the department to have served since David Paul was found.
He said that while the department has poured itself into uncovering why David Paul was left under the tree, they have looked forward as well. He said shortly after David Paul’s discovery, a law was passed to allow mothers to bring children they cannot or do not wish to care for to any hospital, police or fire department regardless of their background.
Police and clergy from across Meriden spoke at the First United Methodist Church service, reading scripture and singing hymns.
“Our minds cannot understand how this happened,” said retired Associate Pastor Alden Barnes, of First United Methodist Church. “We pray too for this child’s mother...help her, heal her, help her accept responsibility for this tragic loss,” Barnes said.
“He was the single point of us all coming together,” said Chaplain ZahirMannan, of the AhmaddiyaBaitul Amman Mosque. “Our hearts and souls are both broken and moved.”
“Maybe David Paul would have been a police officer or otherwise served his community,” Mannan said after visiting the grave. “It reminds us that we’re all children of the same human race.”