Virginia Diocese Offers to Assist With Burial of Unborn Baby Found in Pond

The late-term unborn baby was found in a pond in Leesburg, Va.

Caution tape.
Caution tape. (photo: null / Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: This story was updated on Saturday, March 16, 2024 to clarify that the Diocese of Arlington has offered to assist in the burial of the infant's body.

Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, this week announced that his diocese offered to help with the burial of the body of an unborn baby discovered in a local pond. 

Police in Leesburg, Virginia, announced this week the “discovery of a deceased late-term fetus in a pond” about 20 miles outside of Washington, D.C.  

“The investigation is being treated with the utmost seriousness and sensitivity,” the police said, with Leesburg Police Chief Thea Pirnat calling the discovery “a deeply tragic situation.”

In a statement on the Diocese of Arlington’s website, Bishop Burbidge said it was “with great sorrow that I learned today of the unsettling discovery of the body of an unborn baby described by police as a ‘late-term fetus,’ found in a pond in Leesburg.” 

“The Diocese of Arlington has made it known that we are willing to assist with the proper burial and committal of the remains,” Bishop Burbidge said.

The bishop “urge[d] the faithful of the diocese and all people of goodwill to join me in prayer for the child’s mother and for anyone involved in this incident.”

Bishop Burbidge said the Diocese of Arlington “encourages all women who find themselves in unexpected or difficult pregnancies to seek assistance” through Catholic Charities or the Gabriel Project, a pregnancy support group. 

The Leesburg police department did not immediately respond to a query on Friday regarding the status of the investigation. 

Bishop Burbidge, who was installed as the bishop of Arlington in 2016, is also the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.