mcpo njsp snapshot 1Technology Aiding Detectives In Solving 3-Year Old Infant Death

FREEHOLD – Investigators remain determined to find the mother of an infant who was found deceased and decapitated in 2014.  Detectives have remained steadfast in their efforts to seek justice for this tiniest of victims, who remains unidentified. 

The discovery of the baby sparked an investigation by state and county law enforcement that continues to this day. New information has been developed that gives authorities hope that the identification of the baby girl’s mother is possible, but the public’s assistance is vital to pushing this investigation forward, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Important clues about the case were released in the days following the child’s discovery. Investigators uncovered the infant’s head, two blood-stained blouses – one from a Rainbow retail store – and a bag from The Wiz retail store in the 200 block of Main Street in Orange, Essex County, N.J.  The baby girl was 21.5 inches, 7 pounds, and five ounces at birth. The blouses had no tags, but their size could be characterized as petite to medium.  Both the clothing and the bag are believed to be connected with the mother of the infant.

The investigation has stretched from Monmouth County and up to northern New Jersey, including Essex County.

“Identifying the mother of this child is vital to this investigation, and we seek the public’s assistance to help solve the case. We are in the third holiday season without knowing what happened to this little girl and we need to uncover some answers,” Gramiccioni said.

A new DNA phenotyping is breathing renewed hope to identify the mother of the full-term newborn female. The DNA phenotyping process is the latest technological advances aimed at predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence in an effort to help identify the mother of the infant girl.

“The death and callous discarding of this precious child is difficult for even the most experienced investigators,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police (NJSP).  “We are encouraged that this emerging technology will aid the law enforcement community in solving the death investigation of the infant and provide another asset to our arsenal of investigative tools.”

Using DNA evidence from the investigation, the new DNA phenotyping service produced trait predictions for the baby’s mother.  Individual predictions were made for the mother’s ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, and face shape. By combining these attributes of appearance, a composite was produced depicting what the mother may have looked like at 25 years old.

Based upon the DNA analysis, the mother is likely from Central or South America.  She has either light brown or brown colored skin, has brown or black eyes and has black colored hair.  The mother likely does not have freckles.

It is important to note that DNA composites created by Parabon’s Snapshot DNA Phenotyping Service is aimed at narrowing suspect lists and generating leads in criminal investigations. The results are scientific approximations of appearance based on DNA, and are not likely to be exact replicas of appearance. Environmental factors such as smoking, drinking, diet, and other non-environmental factors — e.g., facial hair, hairstyle, scars, etc. — cannot be predicted by DNA analysis and may cause further variation between the subject’s predicted and actual appearances.

The Middlesex County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office has determined the child was not stillborn nor was she an unborn baby. It is believed the newborn girl breathed life before she died.

Detectives have spoken with an FBI profiling expert who believes if the mother of the infant is responsible for putting the baby’s body in a dumpster, she may have been trying to hide her pregnancy prior to giving birth.  She might have been living a different lifestyle than she was accustomed to, and since the birth, she may have resumed some of her more normal routines. But it is also important to note that the mother is not a suspect at this time.

mcpo njsp snapshot 2“You may have a student, co-worker, supervisor, friend, neighbor, intimate partner or family member who you may recall was showing signs of pregnancy. You may have noticed she was attempting to hide her pregnancy. She may have worn baggy clothing or wore attire out of season. You may have even asked her if she was pregnant. Her response may have been to deny the pregnancy altogether, or offer some other explanation such as miscarriage or blamed any changes in her appearance on gaining weight, unhealthy eating, or some other medical problems.  After delivery of the baby, the mother may have resumed some of her normal activities without showing any obvious signs of having recently given birth,” added John G. McCabe, Jr., Chief of Detectives at the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

At this time, there is no evidence to point to the mother being a victim of foul play, although that possibility has not been ruled out.

Detectives hope someone may recognize facial features and other family characteristics based upon a composite profile of the mother or provide assistance to find the mother based on the items of clothing recovered.  The attached pictures show the composite profile of the mother and clothing.

Members of the NJSP Homicide South Unit, Troop “C” Criminal Investigations Office, Crime Scene Investigation Central Unit, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office – Major Crimes Bureau, and the Middlesex County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office are continuing to carry this investigation forward together. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Joseph Itri with the NJSP Homicide South Unit at 609-963-6993 or Detective Brian Weisbrot of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office – Major Crimes Bureau at 800-533-7443.

Anyone with information about this case may anonymously contact Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-671-4400, which is a confidential telephone tip-line, or text “MONMOUTH” plus the tip to 274637 or email tip via the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com.  Monmouth County Crime Stoppers does not need your name, and will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest or conviction of a criminal.