Reporting Bill Hudson
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One week after Labor Day boaters made the gruesome discovery of a dead newborn floating inside a plastic bag on the Mississippi River, investigators are explaining how leads in the case have grown cold.
That explains why the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Winona County Sheriff’s investigators are revealing crucial evidence. They’re hoping that with the public’s help the evidence may provide the leads they need to solve the tragic mystery.
“We’re here today to ask the public’s help to solve this investigation,” Sheriff David Brand said.
Investigators have named the unknown baby girl, Angel. That’s because along with the newborn’s body they recovered four porcelain angel figurines placed inside the canvas and plastic bags. One of the larger angel figurines, measuring nearly 10-inches tall, is dated with the year 2000 and the words, “Anno Domini.”
The two smaller blue angels measure three-and-a-half inches tall and contain tiny bells.
“The child was found in a canvas bag that had embroidery on the outside of the bag,” said BCA Special Agent Drew Evans.
That tan-colored fabric bag is believed to be from the Mexican resort community of Manzanillo. The 7-pound newborn’s body was wrapped in a dark green T-shirt with a silk-screened image of what appears to be a slice of bread on its front.
Also inside the bag was a single piece of dark blue jewelry in the shape of a circular eye pattern. It is attached to a string of blue and silver beads.
The infant’s body and all of the items were inside the canvas bag which was wrapped with two tan plastic bags.
“We can’t speculate what the meaning of the items is, but they had some sort of personal significance to whomever placed them in the bag with the body,” Evans said.
Investigators say they have good reason to believe the baby was only in the water for about a day when boaters discovered the bag floating about six miles south of Winona. Further forensic testing will be done on the body as the autopsy continues. So far they can’t determine the identity, race or ethnicity of “baby angel.”
Investigators also say they have no reason to suspect this abandoned baby is connected to three previous cases of dead babies discovered upriver in Goodhue County.
Anyone who can help identify the items of evidence or help determine the parents of the child is asked to contact the Winona County Sheriff’s Department hotline at (507) 457-6530.