CHESTER — The two porch lights still burned. The lights waited, the fifth day and night in a row, for people who might never return. A rocking horse for a toddler sat on the tiny porch.
The mobile home sat, empty.
Because in the heat of midday Tuesday, a family in Chester County had to do something on a rural road, in a cemetery that exists to bury the indigent.
This time, a burial was held for a child that never had a chance to be born.
The pregnant mother was not there. Brittney Jordan remains hospitalized with stab wounds to her head and neck suffered during an attack on Thursday.
The father was not there. Aris Nichols is in jail, charged with criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature.
The stabbing happened at the couples mobile home in Chester where the rocking horse sat, saddled and ready but unused. And the lights outside burned still.
The unborn child, named Tavaris Jordan, died after his mother was stabbed.
Police and prosecutors, awaiting autopsy results that could come as early as today, have not said what additional charges the father might face after those results come in.
There were no cops, no lawyers, no judges in that lonely cemetery with some graves that do not even have markings as to who is in them.
Just a family.
Thats why the Jordan family, a big bunch from Great Falls and Blackstock in southern Chester County, had to venture north of Chester to rural Darby Road where the Hillside Cemetery is. There is a chain link fence that separates it from the road.
Moses Caldwell of Kings Funeral Home in Chester an undertaker with 48 years of funerals under his snap-brim hat had in stock the tiniest of tiny caskets.
He offered it without hesitation when the family needed him and that casket.
This death deserves all the dignity I have to offer, said Caldwell. This is not easy. But it is necessary and it is important and this is what we do.
Caldwell had the gravediggers, of the legendary Robinson and Carter gravediggers, ready the plot. It was no more than three feet long.
Caldwell drove the family in the longest, sleekest, shiniest black limousine anybody ever saw, to the cemetery. The service lasted a few minutes, then all left.
On that tiny plot of earth were flowers, as beautiful as there are anywhere, with a ribbon that read, Heavens Little Angel.
A few minutes later, the Jordan family gathered, at the last house on the last street in Chester before that street runs into a dead end at a railroad track.
It was hot too hot for inside. This is not an air-conditioning neighborhood. On a bunch of shaded porches, some sagging, people sat and fanned themselves.
People waved, even to strangers.
Everybody who had left that funeral sat outside the last house on plastic chairs, or a few metal chairs that had been rustled up. The guys without chairs found buckets, overturned them and sat.
Huge, majestic oak and pecan trees offered shade. Toddlers rode a plastic tricycle. Death is for adults.
Except when it is for an unborn child.
Jordan and Nichols have two small children together. Nichols, in custody without bond, was not mentioned. Nobody wanted to say his name, so nobody did.
But court records show Nichols has been in and out of jail his entire adult life, for serious crimes involving drugs, robbery, and violence. But that is all paperwork. Nobody brought court records to the funeral.
From a trail leading out of woods that cuts over to the commerce of Saluda Street, the main drag, came three men, family members, carrying bags of cold drinks and ice. It was time to be together in memory of a baby who was never born, but buried just the same.
An aunt, Betty Jordan, a family matriarch with a regal bearing, said simply, We must pray.
Nobody wanted to talk about the legal side of what this family will go through, the ongoing investigation, the unanswered questions about the stabbing of Brittney Jordan.
Not cousins and so many, who all shook heads in disbelief and despair.
Nobody talked of the helicopter flight to a Columbia hospital after police found Brittney bleeding in a bedroom.
Nobody talked of the time in courtrooms certain to come, where police and prosecutors will do for this family what must be done if Chester County, the place and its people, will not allow a pregnant woman to be slashed and a child that never was born but had to be buried, to die.
That little horse on the porch will never be ridden by Tavaris Jordan. The lights on, outside the door, will never be the beacon that welcome him home.
We want justice for this baby and for Brittney, said Lakisha Jordan, Brittney Jordans stepmother. We will see this through to the end.
We buried a baby today, but the little boy never even had a chance to be born.
Andrew Dys 803-329-4065 firstname.lastname@example.org