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Mom Is Devastated After Learning That Her Baby's Coffin Is Empty

After 40 years of campaigning, Lydia Reid, a 68-year-old mother from Edinburgh, has been left “devastated” after she discovered her baby’s exhumed coffin was empty. Ms. Reid’s campaign to have her baby’s coffin exhumed began immediately after her infant son, Gary, was buried. “The coffin was light. I knew the weight of a baby. My son was not there. Again, nobody believed me,” Ms. Reid said during an interview with the BBC.

For the next 40 years, Ms. Reid worked to convince government officials and coroners that her son had not been buried at his funeral. When she asked burial staff for a picture of the baby they had buried, she was given a photo of another woman’s child. “I objected but they said I was suffering from post-natal depression,” recalled Ms. Reid. “This baby was blonde and big, my baby was tiny and dark-haired. This was not my son.”

The grieving mother was finally granted a court order to have the coffin exhumed after a DNA specialist, Professor Dame Susan Black, tested Gary’s remains. “I wanted to prove the fact that he wasn’t there. Until I could prove that he wasn’t there I could not fight to find him,” said Ms. Reid. “I wanted to be wrong. I wanted to be called a stupid old woman. But the minute Sue lifted the shawl out of the ground, I knew there was nothing in it. Nothing … My heart hit my feet. I didn’t know what to say.”

After exhuming the coffin, Ms. Reid discovered a shawl, cross, hat and nameplate. However, while the mother may never know what really happened to her son’s body, she has her suspicions.

At this stage, Ms. Reid believes that Gary’s remains were retained by doctors at Scottish hospitals. According to the Independent, this practice was commonplace between 1970 and 2000, with investigations revealing that over 6000 organs were kept by doctors. The horrifying discovery first came to the public’s attention in 2001 after the NHS announced that unofficial organ retention was worryingly common in Scottish hospitals.

Hearing this statistic is what prompted Ms. Reid to keep fighting to have Gary’s coffin exhumed. “Even if he is lying in a jar in a hospital somewhere, I want to know,” she emphasized. “If it is possible to get my son back, I want to.”

Professor Black, who is the director of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee, also spoke to the BBC about the ordeal, saying: “Ultimately, there is only one possible logical explanation and that is that the body was not put in that coffin.”

Jim Crombie, the Deputy Chief of the NHS in Lothian, Scotland, has come forward in support of Ms. Reid. “Our condolences are with the family of Gary Paton,” he said in a statement to local media outlets.

Ms. Reid will continue to search for her son’s lost remains. “He is my son and he deserves the respect of a proper burial,” she told the BBC. “Someone must know what happened to him."

Source: The Sun, Independent
Photo: BBC

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