SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

The Nation

February 28, 2011

Infant boy the first NZ quake victim laid to rest

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — The baby boy who is the youngest known victim of New Zealand's earthquake disaster was its first laid to rest, given a farewell Monday by grieving relatives who clutched stuffed toys and draped his tiny coffin in a comforter.

Baxtor Gowland, 5 months old, was sleeping in his home in the southern city of Christchurch when he was killed by masonry shaken loose by the quake that hit with sudden and brutal force last Tuesday, the family told The Associated Press. He died in a hospital.

Authorities have named just eight victims of the disaster — Gowland and another infant among them — and say they are struggling to identify many of the 140 other bodies pulled from the rubble because of the extent of their injuries.

Dozens of Gowland's family and friends, most wearing baby-blue ribbons pinned to their mourning black, gathered at a small chapel. A slideshow of the smiling infant's photographs flashed on a screen as Sarah McLachlan's song "Angel" echoed throughout the room.

After the ceremony, the tiny white casket, bearing a wreath of white flowers and draped at one end in a light-blue comforter, was carried by a single pallbearer to a waiting car. His mother watched, clutching a dark blue stuffed toy.

"Bax you are forever in our hearts we will always love you xo," the boy's father Shaun McKenna wrote on a Facebook tribute page, under a photo he uploaded of his son. "To The little man who made everyone smile who met him, may you look down upon us and help us remember your beautiful face."

Peter Croft, the child's great-uncle, read a statement to the AP thanking people from New Zealand and around the world for their support but asking for privacy during the funeral.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
The Nation

AP Video
Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Russell Simmons, LL Cool J Visit Youth at Jail Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian US, UN Announce Deal on Gaza Cease-Fire Despite Moratorium, Detroit Water Worries Remain Faith Leaders Arrested at DC Deportation Protest Family Dispute Cripples Northeast Grocery Chain CDC Warns Travelers Amid Ebola Outbreak US Stocks Plunge, Wiping Out July's Gains Demoted Worker Shoots CEO, Kills Self Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit Raw: 2 Hurt in NY Trench Collapse House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza