A medical examiner was unable to determine how the baby died

By Chris Harris
March 31, 2020 02:00 PM
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Carolyn Propes
Credit: Troup County Sheriff's Office

More than a year after a newborn baby’s body was found inside a cooler that had been dumped along the side of a Georgia road, DNA evidence has led to the arrest of a woman who was allegedly the child’s mother.

The Troup County Sheriff’s Office arrested Caroline Propes, 19, of Newnan, on Thursday, charging her with one count of second-degree murder for her alleged role in the death of the baby.

The gruesome discovery of the deceased newborn in LaGrange was made by area residents on Jan. 6, 2019, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

Witnesses said the cooler — a zippered, insulated bag on wheels, with watermelon print — had been on the side of the roadway for more than a week.

Investigators allege DNA from the dead baby was analyzed and used to determine Propes to be the baby’s biological mother.

The testing was done by laboratories in Oklahoma and Virginia.

“From the moment this case was opened, I and my team of investigators were determined to bring this case to a conclusion,” said Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff in a statement.

“I cannot thank them enough for their determination to close a case that touched many people and were it not for the work of DNA Solutions and Innovative Forensic DNA, LLC, this case may not have been solved,” Woodruff added. “We greatly appreciate their assistance.”

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A medical examiner was unable to determine how the baby died.

It is also unknown how the baby’s body ended up inside the cooler, or who abandoned it on the side of the road.

Propes remains in police custody on an unknown amount of bail.

It was unclear if she’s entered a plea to the single charge against her, or if she’s retained an attorney who could comment on the allegations on her behalf.