The thought that a woman can carry a developing baby in her womb for the full gestation term and give birth, then abandon that baby in harsh circumstances is truly beyond my own understanding. While I am Pro-Life (and my definition means not only birthing but supporting every mother and child, which some of the fanatics don’t go that far, just saying) and yet want abortion to remain safe and legal, there are better ways of dealing with a child if the mother can’t cope with raising that baby.
Yet another story of DNA discovering the identity of a mother who abandoned her baby came to my awareness today. Police have worked with forensic genealogists to analyze the DNA of deceased abandoned babies and their probable mother utilizing genealogy websites, the same technique that in 2018 helped investigators to identify the suspected Golden State Killer. The new technology understandably alarms privacy advocates while it honestly excites law enforcement officials who say that it provides a crucial new tool for identifying criminals.
On January 2 1988, police found a newborn swaddled in blankets, resting at the base of a tree that was hidden from the road. He had died of exposure to the frigid weather. The baby was named David Paul and buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery by police in Meriden Connecticut.
Not only is DNA matching helping adoptees in closed adoptions rediscover their original families as it has definitely assisted me but it is also discovering these tragic mothers. It was on the 32nd anniversary of the dead child’s discovery that two detectives confronted the woman who was indeed his mother.
She said that, “she had been waiting 32 years for the day in which the police would be knocking on her door regarding this incident.” What an awful secret to live for decades knowing. Colleen Fitzpatrick of IdentiFinders International chose to use this baby’s case to test whether autosomal SNP testing could help identify people from their DNA. In the months that followed, she used the genealogical website GEDmatch to map the baby’s and mother’s family trees.
The baby’s mother did express remorse for abandoning him. She admitted that she was in a bad state of mind when her baby was born. Then 25, she said she hid her pregnancy under loose clothing and delivered the child by herself at home. She also did try to save him by calling a local fire department and telling them in vague language that there was something they needed to look for in the parking lot. Sadly, the first responders did not know that they were looking for a baby and so did not find him.
The mother will not be charged because the state has a 20-year statute of limitations on manslaughter cases. She may feel some relief that what she did is no longer a secret.