By Marissa Alter
WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WREX) - The Baby Crystal case affected the entire community, especially local investigators. They'd covered deaths before, but the emotions linked to this case were different.
13 News sat down with Winnebago County Coroner Sue Fiduccia to talk about her connection to Baby Crystal and her feelings on the arrest.
People often ask Sue Fiduccia if this photo on her office wall is her grandchild. The answer: no. But the baby is family.
Fiduccia and other law enforcement kind of adopted Baby Crystal after finding her frozen body on a cold December night in 2004.
"Everybody that was really out there, that was primary on the scene--it affected every one of us. There were a lot of tears out there that night."
Those emotions continued in the following days.
"My back door--in the days after we found Baby Crystal people would be knocking on the door, and they were police officers. And they didn't want to come through the front door because they didn't want to be seen. And they'd say, 'Here Sue, put this with Baby Crystal.'"
Baby Crystal was laid to rest with so many stuffed animals and baby blankets, they needed a bigger casket.
That was more than four and a half years ago. Today, the emotions haven't faded.
"I always hoped this day would come, but to tell you the truth, no, I didn't think it would. And when I found out and talked to the sheriff, I'm not sure who had bigger tears in their eyes, him or me, because we found her family. She's got a family other than us now."
Fiduccia made a special trip to Baby Crystal's grave this afternoon and brought along a teddy bear.
"I kind of said goodbye to her, but also kind of said ,'Honey, you've got a whole family out there that loves you dearly. And they're gonna know you.' So there's some elation, there's some sadness, there's some tears, but it's ok."
It's a bittersweet end to the Baby Crystal investigation but not the end of Fiduccia's connection.
"She'll just always be part of me."
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