A woman in Colorado was arrested Tuesday in connection with the death of a newborn girl whose body was discovered in a garbage bag weighed down with rocksin a reservoir more than two decades ago.
The Larimer County Sheriffs Office announcedthat 42-year-old Jennifer Katalinich of Erie, also known as Jennifer Tjornehoj, was arrested on charges of first- and second-degree murder.
This case serves as a great reminder that [the sheriffs office]is determined to solve all cases despite the amount of time that passes after the commission of the crime, Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said at a news conference. Itoften takes just one citizen to come forward with information to spark new life into a cold case.
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The Baby Faith case began on Aug. 24, 1996, after two 11-year-old boys discovered the body of a newborn girl with her umbilical cord still attached in the Horsetooth Reservoir, located just outside of Fort Collins.
A county coroner determined at the time the child died of asphyxiation, and the unidentified girl was later named Baby Faith.
Investigators established this case was not related to a similar case in Pueblo known as the Baby Hope case, police said in a press release. Investigators aggressively pursued all leads in the coming months, but eventually all leads were exhausted, and the case was declared cold.
In August 2006, the 10th anniversary of the girls death, the case was reopened in hopes that advances in DNA technology could produce new leads. Officials also hoped reopening the case on the 10-year anniversary would generate new tips and leads from the public, but no new information surfaced that would further the investigation.
By November, DNA evidence was resubmitted to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for updated analysis, and in July of this year investigators determined that five individuals had the probability of being related to Baby Faith. Four of the five were most probable to have information in the case, the sheriffs office said.
On Oct. 6, investigators traveled to Minnesota where three of the individuals lived and cleared all as suspects. Investigators then traveled to Maryland and met with the fourth individual and determined Katalinich could have information. The sheriffs office did not disclose what they learned during the visit to Maryland.
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Katalinich was interviewed by investigators on Oct. 18 and the case was given to the Larimer County District Attorneys Office. A warrant was issued for first-degree and second-degree murder on Friday for the 42-year-old, who surrendered to authorities on Tuesday.
Katalinich was 18 at the time of the newborns murder and was listed as living in a dorm at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. The 42-year-old appeared in court on Tuesday and posted a ,000 cash bond and has been released. She is due back in court again on Jan. 21, FOX31 reported.
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Investigators on Tuesday declined to say whether Katalinich was related to the baby, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan.
Her attorney, David Mestas, says it is too early in the case to comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.B: