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Baby Land: A place where buried children rest together

Posted at 5:37 PM, Sep 15, 2016
Kids caught in the crossfire has been the horrifying reality in Cleveland streets, where children have been subjected to inner city violence.
 
The harsh reality is some don't survive, and when that happens, one local cemetery has a spot where they all rest together. 
 
It's called Baby Land, at the Cleveland Memorial Gardens Cemetery on Green Rd. If you drive down entrance pathway, you'll almost immediately see rows and rows of baby's and children's headstones, all in one spot. 
One of them is 3-year-old old Major Howard, who was shot and killed almost a year ago. 
 
Now nothing but silence and peace surrounds him and the more than 60 children buried in this lot.
"We just thought it more fitting for him to be with the children," said Victor Freeman, Major Howard's Grandfather.
 
It's been exactly a year since he's been able to hold his 3-year-old grandson.
 
"This past year has been I honestly can say one of the roughest 12 months of my life," he said. 
 
Visiting Baby Land, he's constantly reminded that he's not alone.
 
"I believe every child here had purpose...it's heart-wrenching, really, because I know if I go through the pain, how they're going through the pain," Freeman said. 
 
As I walked with him through each row, we saw one-year-old Braylon Robinson who was accidentally shot and killed by a three-year-old last summer. 
 
And then, down the row from Major, Freeman saw a familiar face...it was 3 year old Emiliano Terry went missing and was later found dead in the trash back in 2012.
 
"To know that I actually searched for this young baby, it touched my heart, when it happened to him, my heart was just tore up." 
 
As eerie and heartbreaking as it may seem, there's actually a practical reason why they're all there together.
 
"Economically speaking, those spaces are going to be quite a bit less than an adult single grave space... And you can kind of outline a section in the cemetery...based upon size of casket," said Thomas Smith, Owner of the Thomas G. Smith Funeral Home.
 
He's been in the funeral business for more than 30 years, burying multiple children in 'Baby Land.' 
"It's kind of special," he said. 
 
That said, he explained one of the most difficult parts of his job is watching families leave their babies for good.
"It's that final part where you know you're not going to see them ever again." 
 
Major Howard's grandfather said he and his family are still trying to deal with that truth.
 
"It's tough...when you grab that gun and you decide to squeeze the trigger know that you going to change somebody's life." 
 
'Baby Land' is not unique to just Cleveland, in Detroit, they have a similar setup. It's also important to note that not all the children in 'Baby Land' have been shot and killed, some have passed for other reasons.