For 36 years, investigators have sought to find the person responsible for the death of a newborn baby who froze to death in Maine, and this week they finally got a break in the case.
Lee Ann Daigle, 58, was arrested outside her Lowell, Massachusetts, home on Monday and charged with murder, the Maine State Police department announced in a statement on Facebook.
On Dec. 7, 1985, a dog named Paca found the newborn, who had been abandoned at a gravel pit in sub-zero temperatures, and dragged it less than 700 feet to his owner's home. The dog's owner, Armand Pelletier, recalled finding the baby's body.
"She kept pounding at the door's window to get back in," he said during a 2014 interview with the Bangor Daily News. "She kept pounding, and after a while, I went to go look, and I could not believe what I saw. I saw what looked like a little rag doll, but then we saw it was a frozen little baby."
It is believed the mother gave birth and then abandoned the baby at the gravel pit. Maine State Police Maj. Charles Love spoke about arriving at the crime scene that fateful morning over three decades ago.
"It was so cold, just very, very cold," he told the Bangor Daily News. "I was not the first officer on the scene, but I was one of the earliest. I was walking the scene, trying to gather information. It was so quiet in that gravel pit, and it appeared that a vehicle had driven in, as the tracks were very clear in the snow. Right near them were plainly a set of dog tracks. I turned and followed those paw prints right back to the house, where it had dropped the baby right by the door."
It was through the help of advancements in DNA technology and genetic genealogy that investigators were able to finally crack the case.
"This case was the culmination of decades worth of investigative work from dozens of now retired and current detectives who never gave up finding answers and justice for Baby Jane Doe," the police statement read.
Circumstances surrounding the newborn's death remain vague. Why did her mother abandon her? Why did no one come forward with information on a woman who had been pregnant and then suddenly childless? Where did the mother go after the birth? With the arrest of Daigle, police are hoping to answer some of the questions that remain.
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