Jennifer Tjornehoj, 42 was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with first-degree murder of a victim under the age of 12
A woman has been arrested for the murder of a newborn baby who was murdered in 1996.
Jennifer Tjornehoj, 42, also known as Jennifer Katalinich, was arrested on charges of first and second-degree murder in connection with the murder of a newborn baby on August 21, 1996 in Colorado.
The baby that became known as & # 39; Baby Faith & # 39 ;, was found packed in a plastic garbage bag that was weighed with stones.
The baby's umbilical cord was still stuck when she was discovered three days after her death by two 11-year-old boys on the banks of Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins.
At the time, researchers could determine that the girl was born alive a few days earlier, but they could not find her family.
The unidentified baby, designated as Baby Faith, was found on August 24, 1996, wrapped in a plastic garbage bag on the banks of the reservoir
The Baby Faith case began in August 1996 when two 11-year-old boys found the newborn girl in a garbage bag. There were no clear indications of who her parents were
The coroner ruled her death as a murder by asphyxiation and she was buried in a local cemetery thanks to the local community, but the identity of her parents remained a mystery.
Advances in DNA technology in the intervening years led to the arrest of Tjornehoj on Tuesday, although investigators have not said if she is the mother of the baby The Denver Post.
Tjornehoj would have been 18 at the time of the death of Baby Faith.
& # 39; Until recently we feared that we (Baby Faith) would never know another name or why it was left alone in August 1996 in the cold water of the Horsetooth reservoir & # 39 ;, said Sergeant Andy Josey of the research unit from the sheriff during a news conference on Tuesday.
Researchers then determined that the baby was probably born alive days earlier
The community held a memorial service for Baby Faith, pictured, funded by donations and assistance from the First Assembly of God Church or Fort Collins, now known as Timberline Church
& # 39; It was clear that at that time we were the only known family to have Baby Faith, so we acted like family does – we were willing to remind her and give her a resting place she deserved, & # 39 ; said Josey.
& # 39; I still see her, & # 39; said Josey, who is now retired. & # 39; I still remember the things we were talking about then, the things we were doing back then. It is always there and it will always be there. & # 39;
& # 39; Baby Faith became & # 39; left by choice, not by chance, & Josey recalled. & # 39; I knew then that I know today that she didn't deserve to be left alone, & # 39; he went on.
After the baby's body was found, the community gathered to hold a memorial service for her at the Timberline Church in Fort Collins.
A funeral home and cemetery even donated a tombstone and a cemetery.
After the baby's body was discovered, the sheriff's office and community members held a memorial service on September 3, 1996
Twenty-three years later, no one had come forward to claim the baby as his own and researchers even stopped searching for further clues in June 1998 after all their options were exhausted.
At the time, & # 39; all agents were aggressively chasing … but in the end all leads were exhausted and the case was declared cold & # 39 ;, police noted.
On the tenth anniversary of the death of Baby Faith, in August 2006, researchers decided to retest the DNA material in the hope that additions to databases and general technological advances could yield new information, but still nothing was leading.
A third round of DNA testing took place on the twentieth anniversary of the newborn's death and in November 2016, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation found five possible contests for people related to Baby Faith.
Three of the five people who were a possible match were quickly excluded by investigators, but a fourth person in Maryland provided information that led authorities to Tjornehoj who then willingly spoke with detectives last month, according to The Coloradoan.
"Ultimately, regardless of the outcome, when this case is finally assessed, Baby Faith has two things she didn't have on August 24, 1996 – that's a voice and a true identity," said Robert Coleman, captain of the investigation from Larimer County Sheriff & # 39; s Office
On Friday an order was issued for the arrest of Tjornehoj. She gave herself in Larimer County prison on Tuesday.
& # 39; As we recognize, today's step brings new sadness, & # 39; said Sheriff Justin Smith. & # 39; There is sorrow for the family that has never known about the existence of Baby Faith and there will certainly be sorrow for the accused's family. & # 39;
& # 39; At that time we could do so much (in 1996), & # 39; said Josey. & # 39; Now science and researchers who care have brought up the cause: the cause to identify Baby Faith and look for what kind of justice we can do. I am grateful for those who have picked up the torch and will wear it to shed light on the darkness that hid the truth of who Baby Faith is. & # 39;
"Ultimately, regardless of the outcome, when this case is finally assessed, Baby Faith has two things she didn't have on August 24, 1996 – that's a voice and a true identity," said Robert Coleman, captain of the research department of Larimer County Sheriff & # 39; s Office.
Tjornehoj appeared on Tuesday morning in the district court of Larimer County. She paid a cash deposit of $ 25,000 and was released.
Since the death of Baby Faith, Colorado has now not questioned a Safe Haven law that allows new mothers to bring their babies unharmed to hospitals and fire stations up to 72 hours after birth.
Anyone with additional information about the case is asked to call sheriff & # 39; s office investigator Rita Servin at 970-498-5167.
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