The sight of television news vans idling on the basketball blacktop, just feet from where the child's body was found, was jarring to residents making their way home through the park.
"I've got tears in my eyes just thinking of that. I can't believe it," said Sheena Fortune, a member of A Concerned Community Association, which she said includes parts of Olney, West Oak Lane, Belfield, and Germantown. "That's heartbreaking. I walk through this park every day. You mean somebody actually came here and buried a baby?"
Police on Tuesday found the body of a 2-year-old girl partially buried in a wooded section of Kemble Park in Philadelphia's Ogontz section. Homicide Capt. John Ryan told reporters that officers went to the park after the child's female caregiver went to police late Monday and led them to the park. How the girl died was not yet clear, Ryan said.
Ryan said the body had been partially buried with the top of the head exposed. He indicated the remains had been there for some time.
"It's terrible to see a child meet this kind of end," Ryan said.
The caretaker, whose name was not released, was in custody, Ryan said, adding that investigators were looking for the child's parents. He declined to say what prompted the caretaker to come forward.
Police had made no arrests in the case as of 7 p.m. Tuesday. "There are no releasable updates at this time," a department spokesperson said via email.
Ryan said the investigation was in its early stages and a number of questions needed to be answered. "There's still a lot more work to be done," he said.
The woods where the body was found, Fortune said, have been a concern for residents because at times they become overgrown and full of trash.
"We try to do the best we can to keep it well-maintained and cleaned," she said. "We come out periodically and participate in I Love Our Park Days."
A man who hustled by said he cuts through the park to go to work and return home daily. "This is a cool park. Normally, the kids would be playing basketball," he said, glancing at the news vans on the blacktop. He declined to give his name.
Police had used cadaver dogs in the predawn hours Tuesday to look for the remains and called in the Crime Scene Unit and the Medical Examiner's Office after daylight.
The eight-acre park is on West Olney Avenue, across from Central High School and Philadelphia High School for Girls. It is named after Fanny Kemble, a 19th-century actress, writer, and abolitionist who lived nearby.
Staff writer Robert Moran contributed to this article.