NORTHFIELD, Vt. — More than 40 years after some Vermont children waiting for a school bus discovered a dead baby off the side of the road, state police have announced that they found the infant’s parents in Maine and no charges will be filed.

The deceased infant was found in Northfield on April 1, 1982, state police said Wednesday. Investigators determined that the deceased baby was a recently born boy but his identity was unknown. An autopsy was unable to determine the cause of death or if the baby died of existing medical conditions, police said.

The initial investigation did not turn up any information to help identify the infant or his parents, police said. Evidentiary DNA testing was not available at the time and the case remained unresolved, police said.

In 2020, state police worked with a DNA technology company to do genealogy analysis with the work funded by donations. In 2021, the company provided possible names of the baby’s biological mother and father, who had ties to the Northfield area in 1982.

Vermont State Police said they contacted the individuals at their home in Maine and obtained DNA from them, which confirmed they were the parents. The father told police he left Vermont for an extended period in 1982 and did not know about the pregnancy or disposal of the deceased baby.

The mother admitted she unlawfully disposed of the deceased infant. She said she did not know she was pregnant and did not have any symptoms until she began to feel abdominal pain. She labored alone for several hours and lost consciousness, she told police. She said when she came to, she realized she had delivered a baby but the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and he did not survive, according to police.


She said she planned to find a spot in the woods to bury him but while walking in the woods she thought she heard voices and got scared. She slipped and the baby fell from her arms and she ran, police said.

State police met with the county prosecutor about the case, who determined that charges of murder were unwarranted, police said. Charges related to the unauthorized disposal of a dead body are beyond the statute of limitations, police said.

Police in Maine solved a similar case in 2022, in which the mother was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years in prison for causing the death of a newborn baby girl she left in a Frenchville gravel pit in 1985.

Lee Ann Daigle pleaded guilty to manslaughter in April 2023 and was given a 16-year sentence, but is serving six behind bars and then three years of probation upon her release.

Maine State Police were called to a Frenchville home in December 1985 after a couple’s dog had left the body of a newborn on their front lawn. The baby appeared to have been delivered full term and then abandoned, authorities said.

A medical examiner at the time determined that the infant’s death was a homicide. But without DNA testing and no witnesses, police were short on leads.

It wasn’t until 36 years later that the Maine State Police Crime Lab identified the baby’s biological father through DNA testing. He has never been publicly identified. The following year, a genealogical specialist recommended police request a DNA sample from Daigle, believing she was either related to the baby or the biological mother.

Her attorneys suggested Daigle was experiencing “cryptic pregnancy,” or pregnancy denial in 1985. Not only was Daigle unaware, but those closest to her saw none of the telltale signs. Even her significant other at the time, whom she was intimate with less than a month before delivering Baby Jane Doe, could not tell.

This report contains material from the Press Herald.

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