Moms Donate Breast Milk to 4-Month-Old Baby After Police Officer Mom Is Slain in Line of Duty
A community of California moms have come together to donate breast milk to a 4-month-old girl whose police officer mother was killed in the line of duty shortly after returning to the force from maternity leave.
Officer Lesley Zerebny, 27, of the Palm Springs Police Department, was killed in the line of duty earlier this month after responding to a domestic disturbance call that resulted in gunfire.
She is survived by her husband, Zachary, and their 4-month-old daughter, Cora.
Zerebny was still breastfeeding her baby at the time of her death.
New mothers in the area immediately responded to support the infant by donating their own breast milk to the grieving family.
Within a day, the family received 500 ounces of breastmilk — approximately enough to last more than a month.
Within a week, the family received enough breastmilk to last them a year.
"A friend sent me these pictures today of coolers filled with donated breast milk and told me about a remarkable effort that has taken place over the last couple days," KTVU reporter Claudine Wong wrote on Facebook.
According to Deputy Mike Vasquez of the Riverside Sheriff's Office, who has since taken over the case, "[The family is] so overwhelmed and so grateful for all the people that considered helping them in that way. They're extremely thankful for the outpouring of support they received."
The Palm Springs Police Department announced on Facebook they have since stopped accepting breast milk donations for baby Cora but instead have asked mothers to donate to local milk banks in Zerebny's name.
A memorial will be held Tuesday for Zerebny and colleague Officer Jose "Gil" Vega, who was killed alongside Zerebny.
Officers Zerebny and Vega were joined by two other officers when they responded to a family disturbance earlier this month, according to a police press statement. Gunfire was exchanged and three officers were injured. Zerebny and Vega succumbed to their injuries at the hospital, while the other officer is recovering from non-life threatening injuries.
A suspect, later identified as John Felix, 25, of Palm Springs has been charged on two counts of murder on a peace officer.
A donation page has since been set up for the surviving family members of Zerebny and Vega.