DNA test identifies mother who left baby to freeze 30 years ago

A mother who left her baby to freeze to death in a Connecticut parking lot more than 30 years ago has been identified by DNA testing.

Meriden Police Chief Jeffry Cossette said the manslaughter case has a 20-year statute of limitations, which means Karen Kuzmak Roche won’t likely face charges.

“Miss Roche indicated she had been waiting 32 years for the day on which police would be knocking on her door regarding this incident”, he said.

The child was found wrapped in a blanket at the foot of a tree on 2nd January 1988, 5 days after being left to freeze. The boy was named David Paul by those who discovered his remains.

Roche, who is now married and living in Haddam, said she was 25 when the child was born and that her life was a mess when she left him to die, the chief said. She was the only one who knew about her pregnancy, and she hid it with loose clothing. Roche said that she called the fire department to report that they needed to search the parking lot for ‘something’ but didn’t say it was her child. First responders apparently did go to the parking lot but didn’t find anything. Roche did express remorse for leaving the baby.

The case was cracked using a relatively new DNA technique, which has been credited with helping solve cold cases across the USA. Crime-scene DNA profiles are entered into public genealogy databases, which find relatives of the person who left the DNA. From this, family trees can be built that lead detectives to a suspect. The same method led to the 2018 arrest of the so-called Golden State Killer, who authorities believe killed at least a dozen people.

The State’s Attorney’s office in New Haven will have a final say on whether to charge Roche, reports WTIC. However, authorities say that in addition to the statute of limitations on the manslaughter charge, Roche’s phone call would make it difficult to prove that she had intended to murder her child. The father of the baby was not identified, but officials believe he did not know anything about the pregnancy or the subsequent abandonment.

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