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Police say DNA test is not a match in 2004 baby death

October 06, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA.

charlestown@herald-mail.com

Investigators looking into the death of a baby which was found in a plastic bag under the U.S. 340 bridge in Harpers Ferry last year were dealt a setback Wednesday when it was learned that a DNA sample from the infant did not match a suspect in the case.

Jefferson County Sheriff's Department officials announced last year they had a suspect in the death of the baby and felt good about how the case was progressing.

Investigators were focusing on a Winchester, Va.-area woman who they suspected might have been the baby's mother.

Jefferson County Sheriff Everett "Ed" Boober said previously that he believed the suspect, at the very least, had knowledge about the case.

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Investigators took a blood sample from the baby and the woman and sent the samples to an FBI lab in Washington, D.C., police said.

Chief Deputy Jesse Jones said Wednesday his department has been informed that the DNA samples did not match.

"Obviously, it's still an open investigation," Jones said.

The baby was found March 21 by a Harpers Ferry National Historical Park ranger who responded to the area for another call, deputies said.

The ranger thought the bag, which was found on the Harpers Ferry side of the river, contained garbage, police said.

After realizing that the bag was probably too heavy to contain only garbage, the ranger opened it and found the baby.

The body, to which the umbilical cord was still attached, was wrapped in a pink sheet, then a white sheet. The bundle was placed into a garbage bag with three five-pound dumbbells and tied, police said.

That bag was placed into another plastic garbage bag, which was loosely tied.

Investigators believe someone was trying to throw the bag into the river.

Investigators later named the infant "Baby Christian" and buried the baby in Edge Hill Cemetery off Congress Street.

After the baby was found, investigators received many leads from the public and they were able to put together some convincing circumstantial evidence, Jones said.

"Then you get this bombshell. We'll have to review everything. Hopefully we'll get some more information from the public," Jones said.

Jones is asking for anyone who knows about a baby who was unaccounted for about the time the baby was found to contact his department.

The sheriff's department can be reached at 304-728-3205.

Jones said the DNA results were not received until now because of a large workload at the FBI lab, which handles cases from around the world.

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