Who is she? NJ officials looking for mother of headless baby left in trash
FREEHOLD BOROUGH — Monmouth County officials are hoping for a holiday miracle — finally getting a lead from the public to assist them in the investigation of a gruesome discovery made more than three years ago.
On Nov. 11, 2014, a decapitated newborn — perhaps just hours or days old — was spotted at a garbage processing facility in Farmingdale. The incident sparked an investigation by state and county law enforcement but resulted in few answers.
Identification of the baby's mother is crucial to the case, officials say. Now they may have their best shot.
Using the latest technological advances that can predict an individual's eye, hair and skin color, along with other features, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office has released a composite of what the mother may have looked like three years ago.
DNA gathered from clues at the scene — specifically two blood-stained blouses, believed to be connected with the infant's mother — gave officials the opportunity to utilize the phenotyping process that's been used by several states to assist in gaining leads and nabbing suspects.
"It's certainly not a perfect science, but it's a best estimate based on the DNA that was pulled from these clothing items that were recovered," Monmouth County Christopher Gramiccioni told reporters at a Wednesday morning press conference.
Gramiccioni noted no one is considered a suspect at this time. The primary goal is to identify the mother. With this composite, the public may be able to help.
The mother is likely from Central or South America, based upon the DNA analysis. The results report 95 percent confidence of light brown or brown-colored skin, 100 percent confidence of black hair and 56.6 percent confidence of brown or black eyes.
Environmental factors such as smoking and diet cannot be accounted for, along with non-environmental factors such as hairstyle and scars.
According to an FBI profiling expert, if the mother is responsible for putting the baby's body in a Dumpster, she may have been attempting to hide her pregnancy prior to giving birth.
"We believe even three years later that somebody in the community knows who this mother is," said Colonel Patrick Callahan, acting superintendent of the State Police, which covers policing for Farmingdale and responded to the initial scene.
Along with the blood-stained clothing, officers at the scene uncovered a handbag purchased from The Wiz retail store in Orange — more than 50 miles away. Areas of interest include Monmouth, Essex, Union and Middlesex counties.
The DNA analysis was purchased using forfeiture funds, Gramiccioni said. He described the expenditure as a "no-brainer."
"Maybe something will shake loose. Someone will be compelled to call in, even if it's confidential," Gramiccioni said. "We're looking for kind of a holiday miracle I guess."
Monmouth County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identity of the baby's mother. Crime Stoppers can be reached by phone (1-800-671-4400), text ("MONMOUTH" to 274637) or email (through monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com).
Anyone with information may contact Detective Sergeant Joseph Itri with the NJSP Homicide South Unit (609-963-6993) or Detective Brian Weisbrot of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office — Major Crimes Bureau (1-800-533-7443).
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.