A 50-year-old woman has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder after her DNA matched that found at the 1997 crime scene where a deceased new-born boy was found in a gas station trash can.
Seattle police used the public genealogy website GEDmatch to narrow down a list of suspects. They then mailed a fake beverage survey to one of those suspects, Christine Warren, with the promise of a gift card if she completed the survey, which she did. Police analyzed the DNA Warren used to seal the return envelope and found that it was a perfect match to a placental blood clot found on the deceased baby 23 years earlier.
Police then interviewed Warren and allege that she admitted to being the baby’s mother, prompting her arrest. She said that the baby’s father reacted negatively to finding out she was pregnant so she ignored her pregnancy and didn’t tell anyone else or receive medical care.
Police say Warren began experiencing cramps while driving with a friend and asked if they could pull into a gas station. She then went into the restroom, delivered the baby, which dropped into the toilet water for “several minutes”, placed him in the trash can and covered him with trash. She claims she thought he was dead but did not check for vital signs.
The boy was found two days later by an employee taking out the trash. An autopsy ruled he was born alive but died of natural causes. One month later, the cause of death was re-ruled as homicide. Footage of Warren entering the gas station was publicized on the news but did not provide any useful leads.
The baby boy was buried under the name “Baby Boy Doe” in the children’s section of North Seattle’s Calvary Cemetery, in a funeral funded by donors and attended by dozens of people.
“I can certainly say there’s no celebration going on, this is an awful case,” said Seattle police Detective Rolf Norton.
“The original case detectives, the scene detectives in this investigation, did a tremendous job. And they created a foundation of evidence that we were able to parlay into a conclusion with science that we have 20 years later that didn’t exist then,” said Norton, “This was an incredibly sad case in 1997, and it’s an incredibly sad case in 2021.”