Cemented in our Hearts

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On October 7, Krystal Scoggs gave birth to her fifth child, a son.

He was born in the fifth month of pregnancy: approximately 18-21 gestation weeks.

After the birth, Krystal needed medical attention, and has been hospitalized for several weeks.  She and her husband have four surviving children, who have been under the care of their grandparents during this time.

On November 6, news networks reported an investigation at the Scoggs’ home which was related to a stolen vehicle and marijuana paraphernalia.

Because Mr. Scoggs gave permission into the investigation, a blue tub was discovered, which appears to have been in their shed, filled with cement.

The cement held their baby, who was not born alive.

The family have expressed their desire to create a special memorial for their baby, but with Krystal’s physical health requiring weeks of medical attention, they have postponed this until both parents can participate together.

Without support such as our birth plans, doulas, and postpartum support, it is entirely plausible that Krystal might have needed medical attention for substantial postpartum blood loss in particular, given this was her fifth pregnancy, and the time in gestation in which her son was born.

Without information like we provide here at stillbirthday through our farewell celebration resources, cement might have seemed to be an affordable way of holding the baby in a way that would be in consideration of sanitation and decomposition issues.

Their loss is being reported as “an alleged miscarriage” which is still in conjunction to the fifth month of pregnancy the family has reported.

Investigators, however, are painting a frightening story, neighbors are feeling suspicious and have been quoted as fearing their lives, and the prosecutor involved went on record as stating, “To have infant remains in concrete [in a] bucket — that’s why there’s a law against doing that,” clearly depicting the family’s response to their loss as not only unnatural, but illegal.

Actually, section 194.378 of Missouri Revised Statutes states that


In every instance of fetal death, the mother has the right to determine the final disposition of the remains of the fetus, regardless of the duration of the pregnancy.  The mother may choose any means of final disposition authorized by law or by the director of the department of health and senior services.

(L. 2004 H.B. 1136)”

This is further expanded upon in Section 194.387 which states that the mother is also entitled to counseling services.

So what does the mother say?

Krystal says,

“The only reason my baby was not in the ground and my husband is being accused of abandonment of a corpse is because I begged my husband to wait until I was healthy enough and strong enough to finish it (the memorial) hand-in-hand with him together,” she said.

When she was asked why they didn’t call 911 after her alleged miscarriage, she said there was no reason to.

“It’s a natural act of Mother Earth, it’s something that happens every day,” she said.

In fact, an American mother endures a miscarriage every minute.

The fact remains that this family has stated that they intend to memorialize and honor their son, together.

Mr. Scroggs, though, is being charged with abandonment of a corpse, and will appear in court on December 12.


What to do?

What to do, if a family legitimately wants to memorialize their deceased baby, who died via miscarriage, in a family in which four other children are loved and cared for by two generations of adults?  What to do when finances are a factor, when the mother’s health is a factor, when sanitation makes time a factor, when honoring their baby to the best of their ability means using cement to hold him until the family finds the right place to honor him?

The verdict isn’t in yet.  I am not an investigator in this case and I don’t know what else they’ll find.  But they do not have enough evidence right now to paint this family as murderers, scare their entire community, which will have years of repercussions, and show the bereaved community – of which I am a part – as some bizarre, mentally unstable, creepy people who do unnatural things to our young and to ourselves.

Giving birth to a baby who is not alive?  That is unnatural.  That is not normal.  That is not right.

But, it is common.

Wanting to memorialize a baby who is not alive, wanting to hold a farewell celebration in which both parents can attend, is an acceptable and responsible thing to do.

Using what resources you have, given the best of your ability and knowledge at a moment of chaos and despair, is an acceptable and responsible thing to do.

If it does turn out that these are the circumstances, my love goes to this family enduring such a catastrophic turn of events in an already impossibly overwhelming time.

And if not, may the news coverage update rapidly to include any new findings, because the implications in the current portrayal of, truly, an entire global community of bereaved parents, is unacceptable.  Criminalizing bereavement is an atrocity.

May we all become more open to talking about pregnancy and infant loss, because it is not normal, it is not natural, and because it is common.




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  1. This is heartbreaking. 🙁


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