The baby's DNA was submitted to GEDmatch in 2017, which led genealogists to match him with his mother

By Georgia Slater
January 16, 2020 11:43 AM
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With the help of DNA, authorities were finally able to crack a 32-year-old case and locate the mother of a baby who froze to death in a Connecticut parking lot decades ago.

On Jan. 2, 1988, a mystery baby, who died from freezing temperatures, was found in at South Meriden parking lot, ABC News reported according to the Meriden police.

At the time, the Meriden Police Department named the boy David Paul, even setting a plot for him at a cemetery, Meriden Police Chief Jeffry Cossette told the outlet.

The baby and his mother remained unidentified for years until police brought in Colleen Fitzpatrick, a forensic genealogist, who used her expertise in DNA to match the baby with his mother.

WTNH

According to NBC News, Fitzpatrick discovered a possible last name for the infant — who was only a few days old at the time he was found — and submitted the DNA for further testing in 2017.

“This was one of the first cases to go on GEDmatch in 2017,” Fitzpatrick said at a news conference on Tuesday. “We put DNA on GEDmatch. We get a list of DNA cousins…and without contacting anybody, we figure out who they are and we start building the family trees.”

Using the results from the GEDmatch, a team of genealogists was able to find a close connection with the baby’s mother and police began to search for female relatives in the South Meriden area.

On Jan. 2, three decades after David was first found, police knocked on the door of Karen Roche’s home and confirmed she was the baby’s mother.

“Ms. Roche indicated she’d been waiting 32 years for the day in which police would be knocking on her door regarding this incident,” the police chief said at a press conference, per NBC News.

Roche told police that she was “in a very bad state of mind at the time” and was 25 when she gave birth to the baby alone in her home.

According to ABC News, Roche explained that following the birth, she left the baby at the base of a tree on Dec. 28 and tried to alert the South Meriden fire department to search the area. However, since Roche only gave “vague” details, Cossette said responders were unable to locate the baby.

Since the statute of limitations is 20 years for manslaughter, Roche is not expected to be charged for what happened with her baby.