Body of newborn girl found in Mississippi River; cops look for links to three other infant deaths

Categories: Crime, Sad
mississippi river.jpg
Christina Hope via Flickr
Cops want to know if four infants found four years apart in the Mississippi have any connection.
An afternoon of boating on the Mississippi River went terribly wrong for one family this week after they discovered a strange object floating in the water. It turned out to be the body of a newborn baby girl, wrapped in a plastic bag, and left to be swept downstream.

Now, the Winona County sheriff and the Goodhue County sheriff's departments are comparing notes to see if there's any possible connection with three similar infant deaths in the area.

"We have some history with these types of investigations, unfortunately," says Goodhue County Sheriff Scott McNurlin.

Back in 1999, another boater discovered a strange object in Red Wing Bay. It turned out to be the body of newborn girl, her umbilical cord still attached, wrapped in a white towel. Then in 2003, the tiny body of a newborn boy was discovered near Methodist Beach, floating in the water. A blue towel was found washed ashore nearby. Finally, in 2007, the unclothed body of a baby girl was discovered in the murky waters of Sturgeon Lake. It appeared she had been frozen in the river all winter.

The number of incidents caught the attention of the FBI, according to McNurlin, who says his department cooperated in groundbreaking investigative work trying to figure out what happened to the babies. Nevertheless, all three cases are unsolved. DNA testing linked the first two infants maternally, though there was no evidence to suggest the third baby is related in any way. The first two babies were Caucasian, while the DNA testing on the third indicates Native American heritage, according to McNurlin.

Now, there is a fourth baby. Although the seven-pound girl was discovered a fair distance away from the other three cases, McNurlin notes that each baby was found four years apart. He says his department is trying to share any information they can with the Winona County sheriff.

"The one thing they all have in common is the Mississippi River," says McNurlin.

mississippi ice 4346665283_9557dec3e7.jpg
One of the infants was found in ice, but was thought to have gone undiscovered all winter.

Their commonalities are also what makes the investigation so difficult. Although McNurlin says a certain amount of work can be done with river current patterns to determine a point of origin, pinpointing it is near impossible. The waters also wash away evidence. Then there is the fact that all four were newborns.

"When you have a homicide with an adult, often times you have an identity," says McNurlin. "With an infant you have no idea who that child is or the origin or the parents or even the city they come from."

The latest baby's body has been sent to Dakota County for an autopsy and will eventually be DNA tested. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is working with four Winona County sheriff's investigators to solve this most recent case. McNurlin is hopeful the upshot of the baby's death is that new light will be shed on the older, cold cases -- perhaps, even inspiring someone with a guilty conscience to come forward.

"There is probably an emotionally scarred individual out there. We want to appeal to him or her to step forward and put some of these things to rest," he says.

Anyone with information on the cases should call the Winona County Sheriff at 507-457-6368 or Crimestoppers at 507-457-6530.


My Voice Nation Help
Lisa Farr
Lisa Farr

I'm thinking these babies belong to the same family. Four babies born since 1999 and ended dead in the Mississippi. I'm sure they have done DNA testing to see if these children were related. This just sounds too strange for it to be four different people.


There is a safe haven law. The only thing that would make this a little better is if the babies were still born. Im not saying its ok to throw a baby in the river by any means but if they were still born it wouldn't be as bad. Some people discust me.


Just get an abortion you idiot(s)

Emily Morton Smith
Emily Morton Smith

First of all how in the world did we go from a sad issue of the lose of these babies to taxes reguardless of what they are used for the real issue here is there are babies being born to someone who isnt doing what they are supposed to. If you dont want it there are a million families that would love nothing more than to hold this beautiful child in there arms and love it with everything they have.  As a woman that has lost 4 children due to medical reasons early and late in pregnacy, I would love nothing more than to have a child even if it is not mine biologically. The sad part is that people like these woman who weather scared or whatever the case may be are throwing away a life, a life that someone else would give anything to raise and love. God be with these women, I wish for just one day they would feel the hurt and want for a child as so many women do.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

Were these "home births"?They collect cord blood and DNA from most babies born.They have been doing this automatically for years unless the parents contest.  If those collections were to be used for anything, this would be one of the only I would support.

Run the records...

BTW, your tax dollars paid for nearly 4000 PUBLICITY FUNDED ABORTIONS last year in the State of Minnesota. In a way, we have all been sucked into and fund the "baby killing business".

Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann

Once again your clear headed Tea Party logic can't be beat.   It's so obvious the Tea Party cares deeply about small government and keeping it out of people's lives.   Instead of allowing women the choice of what to do with their body I think the government should devote themselves to make people's private medical decisions for them.   I don't really see any problems with forcing women to have and care for a baby they don't want and can't take care of.   One thing to remember ladies is that the government is only allowed to force you to have a baby.   If you want the government to provide any help after you have the child why don't you go fuck yourself you socialist monster.   I'm so  sick of these lazy babies holding their tiny hands out for government money.   Don't these lazy stupid babies realize we need that money to give tax breaks to the wealthy job creators? 

P.S.  I am proud that kirk was able to avoid making fun of the dead children this time.  You babies are lucky you aren't gay or kirk would have shown you how classy and morally sound he is by mocking your death. 


Another article about another tragedy and your comment is about are such a piece of shit.  But since we're on the topic, how much money do you make Kirk?  You're always talking about how your tax dollars do this and your tax dollars do that.  I bet you don't make shit.  I bet you contribute next to nothing to the bottom line.   I'd be surprised if you paid more than $1000 in MN state income tax last year.  You are a failure and a fraud. 


You're just as bad as him.  You just spout the opposite stuff.

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