The case of an abandoned newborn who died ran cold for 23 years. Texas authorities just charged her mother with manslaughter

A newborn baby girl who was abandoned in a Texas ditch and left to die went unidentified for 23 years until authorities say they recently identified and charged her mother.

The infant has been referred to as “Angel Baby Doe” by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office since her body was discovered on November 18, 2001.

The child was found wrapped in a jacket with her umbilical cord still attached off the side of a road between the towns of Alvarado and Burleson, Texas, south of Fort Worth, the Texas Attorney General’s Office said in a news release Monday.

Authorities say she was born alive and likely outside of a medical facility.

A person living in the area found the baby as they picked up cans along the side of the road, according to the release.

The child died after authorities say the mother, later identified in September 2023 through DNA samples as Shelby Stotts, failed to receive prompt medical care after giving birth and failing to clamp the child’s umbilical cord, which “caused the child to bleed to death,” the attorney general’s office stated.

Stotts was indicted on a second-degree manslaughter charge in relation to Angel Baby Doe’s death, the release stated.

CNN was unable to locate contact information for an attorney representing Stotts.

Prior to identifying Stotts, investigators had looked into several persons of interest over the past two decades in an attempt to identify the abandoned deceased child.

“Various leads and tips have come in during those years, yet none have revealed her identity,” the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office shared in a 2021 Facebook post about the case.

The previously cold case was revived in June 2021 after the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office submitted evidence to forensic genetic genealogy company Othram, according to the release.

The company’s team developed a DNA profile for the baby and conducted extensive genetic genealogy research that provided law enforcement with new leads in the case, according to Othram.

“Using this new information, a follow-up investigation was conducted leading investigators to potential relatives of the infant,” the company said in a news release.

The investigation led to Stotts being identified as the baby’s mother.

“After more than twenty years, we are closer to securing justice for Angel Baby Doe and ensuring that the person responsible for this tragedy is held accountable,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a release.

Stotts will be prosecuted under laws that were in effect at the time of the child’s abandonment and death, according to the attorney general’s office.

In 1999, Texas was the first US state to enact Baby Moses Laws, or safe haven laws, which allow mothers in crisis to safely give up their babies in safe, designated locations where the child can receive medical care until a permanent home is found, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

An arraignment hearing for Stotts is scheduled for July 23, court records show.

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