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Seattle woman arrested 23 years after son found dead in trash

A Seattle woman was arrested last week after DNA evidence allegedly identified her as the mother of an infant found dead in a gas station trash can more than 23 years ago, authorities said.

The woman, identified by local outlet KIRO7 as Christine Marie Warren, was booked into the King County Jail Thursday on suspicion of homicide.

Investigators used information from a public genealogy website to link the now-50-year-old woman to the possible 1997 killing of her newborn son, Seattle Police said.

Nicknamed “Baby Boy Doe” by local press at the time, the child was discovered on Nov. 20, 1997 in the bathroom trash can of a 24-hour convenience store in Lake City, the Seattle Times reported.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office determined he had been born alive two days earlier and ruled his death a homicide. 

A surveillance photo that officers believed showed the baby’s mom inside the gas station yielded hundreds of tips during the initial investigation, but cops were “unable to identify the woman” in the images.

DNA evidence found at the scene was entered into the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab’s database, but no match was found.

Detectives began re-investigating the cold case in 2018, and enlisted the help of so-called “DNA sleuth” Barbara Rae-Venter — who solved the Golden State Killer mystery — to narrow the search down to Warren, according to KIRO7.

SPD detectives began re-investigating the death and obtained information from a public genealogy website and found a woman who was both a possible DNA match and fit the description of the woman seen on the gas station’s surveillance footage
Christine Marie Warren was booked into the King County Jail Thursday on suspicion of homicide.
Seattle Police

Warren had voluntarily put her DNA in an open genealogy databank, and opted not to make her data private, the report said.

Undercover detectives sent her a letter, and used an envelope she had mailed back by licking the stamp to confirm her DNA matched the baby’s.

Warren, who would have been 27 when the boy was born, was ordered held on $10,000 bail during her first court appearance on Friday.

It’s unclear what she will ultimately be charged with. The statute of limitations for manslaughter is three years, which has run out, and there is no statute for felony murder, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors were expected to make a charging decision by Tuesday.

With Post wires


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