Cold Case Cracked: Mother Charged 23 Years After Infant Found Dead

In a 23-year-old cold case in Texas involving a baby discovered dead by the side of the road, a woman has been charged with manslaughter.

The Texas attorney general’s office and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on Monday, stating that Shelby Stotts was taken into custody after DNA evidence identified her as the baby’s mother.

Named “Angel Baby Doe,” the infant was discovered in November 2001 by a man who was gathering cans to the south of Fort Worth.

When the sheriff’s office arrived on the scene, it reported that the baby’s umbilical cord was still attached and that it was wrapped in a jacket.

“Due to the circumstances surrounding Angel Baby Doe’s death, investigators deemed the child’s death the result of foul play,” the sheriff’s office stated.

Three years ago, county investigators sent genetic material to a lab in The Woodlands, Texas. There, forensic specialists created a baby’s DNA profile, and an internal genealogical team gave law enforcement fresh leads.

The newborn’s mother, Stotts, was found through the investigation. Stotts was indicted by the state attorney general’s office on a charge of second-degree manslaughter.

The AG claims that Stotts abandoned her newborn on the side of the road without getting the necessary medical attention, so negligently causing her daughter’s death.

Read Also: Sister’s Dying Words Lead to Arrest: Detroit Man Arrested 34 Years After Siblings’ Murder

The baby allegedly bled to death because the umbilical chord was not clamped, according to the indictment.

“After more than twenty years, we are closer to securing justice for Angel Baby Doe and ensuring that the person responsible for this tragedy is held accountable,” Attorney General Ken Paxton stated.

According to court documents, Stotts does not have a counsel, and her phone number is not available to the public.

One of the first states to implement safe haven laws—also known as “Baby Moses” legislation—was Texas. These laws enable new moms to safely leave their infants with authorities while maintaining their anonymity. Following its 1999 enactment in Texas, numerous other states have enacted legislation along similar lines.

The implementation of safe haven legislation aimed to tackle the problems of infanticide and child abandonment. New mothers can typically turn in their kids at designated facilities, which are usually police or fire departments.

From there, the authorities will make sure the babies receive medical attention until they are put in foster or adoptive families.


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