US Military

Their babies died when Camp Lejeune's water was poisoned. But justice has been hard to find

For more than 30 years, multiple sources contaminated Camp Lejeune’s supply wells

The mothers did not know why their babies were dying at Camp Lejeune.

Jeri Kozobarich noticed something was wrong as soon as she arrived at the sprawling U.S. Marine Corps training facility in North Carolina, healthy and seven months pregnant, in the spring of 1969.

At a reception for the wives of the officers on the base, Kozobarich approached another pregnant woman who was “round as a ball” and dressed in black.

“When are you due?” Kozobarich asked.

“My baby is dead,” the woman said, before turning away.

Horrified, Kozobarich raced home, unable to fathom such a fate. Then, at a routine weekly checkup at the facility’s Naval hospital about two months later, she had to. A doctor told Kozobarich, who had no previous pregnancy complications, that the baby girl in her womb was dead. 

Kozobarich, then 24, carried the baby for another three weeks until she delivered on May 24, 1969. Then she buried her first child in a section of a cemetery known as "Baby Heaven," tucked next to Camp Lejeune, where dozens of infant graves surround Kozobarich’s daughter's and the tiny teddy bear statue that marks her headstone.

Read the full story on NBC here.

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