About 4.5 years ago, a newborn’s body was discovered in the water off the Florida coast. A lack of new information led to the case going cold, and the identity of the female newborn was never determined. On Thursday, police in Palm Beach County said that they had apprehended the baby’s mother using the same genetic genealogy technology that had been used to identify the “Golden State Killer” in California.
During a press conference on Thursday, Palm Beach County Special Investigations Unit Captain Steven Strivelli said, “It was four years ago that I stood in front of these same cameras and pleaded for the public’s support in trying to determine out what happened and who this nameless youngster was. I’m very, very happy to announce that today, we have all those questions answered.”
Authorities at the time reported that an off-duty firefighter was boating on June 1 and discovered the child’s body floating on the ocean side of the Boynton Beach Inlet. The infant was given the name “Baby June,” and a depiction of the baby as she or he could have appeared at birth was released by officials. Strivelli stated that investigators checked birth records for every newborn in Palm Beach and Broward counties but found nothing. There was a $10,000 prize for information that resulted in an arrest. However, he added, they received no useful suggestions, therefore the cold case squad took up the investigation.
According to Strivelli, “We were starting to look like we were heading towards a dead end,” until the crime lab and cold case team found the father of the baby. According to Julie Sikorsky, supervisor of the office’s forensic biology unit, the sheriff’s office uploaded the newborn’s DNA into a public database called FamilyTreeDNA and identified a close relative using investigative genetic genealogy, a technique that was also used to solve the “Golden Gate Killer” case.
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“We rebuilt the family tree and identified the close relatives, and then established the link to our suspect today,” Sikorsky told reporters. Detective Brittany Christoffel of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office revealed that DNA testing confirmed that a man was the likely father of the baby. The father informed police he had a girlfriend at the time who told him she was pregnant but that she had “taken care of it,” as reported by Christoffel.
“He knew nothing about this baby,” Christoffel said. “He was thinking she perhaps had an abortion.” Christoffel said that investigators were able to prove his ex-girlfriend was the baby’s mother by obtaining a “covert DNA sample” from “a piece of garbage she threw.” She visited the inlet on May 30, 2018 (only 48 hours before the infant was discovered), and she searched for and viewed news articles about the finding in the days and weeks that followed, as evidenced by search warrants.
“But she’s never come forward in all this time,” Christoffel said. According to Christoffel, they spoke to the mother, Arya Singh, who is 29 years old, as well as several other family members and friends. No one else was aware of what happened, and Singh “was totally responsible for the infant winding placed in the Boynton Beach Inlet,” Christoffel said.
Dave Aronberg, the state’s attorney for Palm Beach County, said on Friday that Singh was arrested on Thursday and would be charged with first-degree murder. The presence or absence of a lawyer who can act as her representative is unknown. Members of her family could not be reached by ABC News. After giving delivery on May 30, 2018, Singh reportedly told authorities she had no idea if the baby was alive or dead.
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Christoffel stated, “She was already dead by the time the baby went into the inlet.” Investigative genetic genealogy (also known as forensic genetic genealogy) was used for the first time by the sheriff’s office in their investigation of the Baby June cold case. This is thought to be the first such usage of the technique in Florida. Ric Bradshaw, sheriff of Palm Beach County, Florida, has declared his department will deploy it again. “It’s a whole different world in terms of technology,” Bradshaw told the press. Many people initially told us, “You got nothing, you’ll be lucky if you ever find someone in this.”
A baby’s body was found floating in the ocean around 4.5 years ago near the Florida coast. The case went cold due to a lack of new information, and the identity of the baby female was never established. The baby’s mother was captured by authorities in Palm Beach County, Florida on Thursday, utilizing the same genetic genealogy technique that led to the capture of the “Golden State Killer” in California.
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