Hundreds in South Jersey Honor Pemberton Baby in Vigil
Despite the icy roads and a steady snowfall, hundreds of South Jersey residents trekked to a church Wednesday night to honor “Baby Angelica,” a local newborn who was allegedly set ablaze by her mother and left to die in the middle of a Pemberton road.
The 90-minute event started inside the Browns Mills United Methodist Church for reflection and prayer, followed by an outdoor candlelight vigil.
Pastor Richard Esher, who opened his church to the community, told the crowd it takes the worst of times to bring out the best of people. The service focused less on blame and anger, and more on bringing mourners together for mutual support.
"Angelica is in the very presence of God," Esher said. "She is free from all pain and all discomfort."
Responding to a witness’s call, officers were dispatched Friday night to Simontown Road, where they discovered the burned infant and her mother, 22 year old Hyphernkemberly Dorvilier, who reportedly doused her baby in an accelerant before using a lighter to set her on fire.
Dorvilier was detained by a nearby resident until the cops arrived. She has since been charged with murder, but did not enter a plea during her first court appearance.
The infant died at St. Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia about two hours after the incident, according to officials.
"Nobody could even imagine something like that happening," said Pemberton resident Pat Grybowski following the vigil. "But it did, and now we have to learn how to deal with it."
Literature near the sanctuary doors shared information about resources available for pregnant woman and new mothers, such as the state's Safe Haven Act, which allows for the anonymous drop-off of unwanted infants.
Donations for Angelica’s funeral are being accepted by the church at 2 Pemberton Browns Mills Rd., Browns Mills, NJ 08015.