‘Baby Lilac’: 40 years after being found in box in Brighton, woman searches for birth mother

Local News

Forty years ago, a newborn was discovered in a box next to a Brighton apartment building.

Recently, that baby, now a grown woman with a child of her own, has returned to the area to look for her birth mother.

The discovery of “Baby Lilac” made headlines in the 1970s. Police say she was discovered by Judy McKeever, who was inside her apartment when she heard crying.

“So I looked around and couldn’t see anything,” McKeever explained during a news conference Friday. “Then I opened the backdoor to my building and there was a box on the ground, two or three steps down.”

Outside, she found a cardboard box covered with a towel  and a baby inside. She called 911 and the baby was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital where she was found to be in good health.

The baby was later turned over to the county Department of Social Services and legally declared “abandoned” before being put up for adoption.

This year, when a woman named Lori began to search for her birth mother, only knowing she was adopted as a child, she stumbled into the case. Her research uncovered that she was adopted through Monroe County in 1978 and her birth certificate listed her as a “foundling”.

After filing a request with the Brighton Police Department, she learned she was “Baby Lilac”.

Lori then met with Chief Mark Henderson and with Judy McKeever — who detailed her discovery.

Now, Lori is hoping someone may come forward with information on her birth mother. In the years since Baby Lilac’s discovery, one of the few leads in the case was a letter written to a newspaper, claiming the baby’s real  name was “Rachel Niccole Michalison” — but police were never able to track down the sender of that letter.

Police ask anyone who can help Lori find her birth mother to call the chief at (585)784-5101 or email him at mark.henderson@townofbrighton.org. The chief says this isn’t a criminal investigation: they only want to help Lori.

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