DuPage sheriff: What Baby Hope's parents may look like
A $12,300 DNA analysis has concluded the parents of Baby Hope, the newborn found dead Aug. 15 near Wheaton, are Latino, authorities said.
Images of what the baby girl's parents might look like, at both age 15 and age 25, were released Thursday by the DuPage County sheriff's office.
Authorities said the parents likely have dark eyes, dark hair and medium skin tone, but they were unable to provide any specifics.
"It's important to note that snapshot composites are scientific approximations of appearance based on DNA and are not likely to be exact replicas of appearance," Sgt. Jeff Christiansen said. "Environmental factors such as smoking, drinking, diet and other non-environmental factors, such as hair, facial hair (and) scars cannot be predicted by DNA analysis and may cause further variation between the subjects' predicted and actual appearance."
Baby Hope was found dead after being abandoned in a wooded area along Plamondon Road, in an unincorporated area near Wheaton. Christiansen said sheriff's detectives started working with Virginia-based Parabon NanoLabs on Aug. 23 to produce the images released Thursday.
Parabon specializes in DNA phenotyping, which predicts physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence. Other law enforcement agencies have used the company's phenotyping service to narrow suspect lists and generate leads in criminal investigations. This is the first time the sheriff's office has used the service.
"We are asking the public to study these images and contact us if they recognize the mother or the father of Baby Hope," Christiansen said.
A toxicology report also has determined Baby Hope's mother was taking Lamotrigine, also known as Lamictal, a drug used to treat epileptic seizures, bipolar disorder and sleep disorders.
Authorities said a brown toilet seat cover and rug found with Baby Hope are part of the Better Homes and Gardens line sold at Wal-Mart.
"We've been working with corporate Wal-Mart extensively and getting records on individuals who may have purchased these two items," Christiansen said. "We've closed some of those leads out. We're still working on other ones. That definitely is a work in progress for us."
The age and residence of the baby's parents remain unknown.
"Anything is possible," Christiansen said. "We're not going to discount anything at this point. It would appear that these individuals would know the area ... but they could live anywhere."
A $5,000 reward is being offered by the Illinois Crime Commission for anyone who provides information that helps identify or locate Baby Hope's parents.
Anyone with information is being asked to call the sheriff's office at (630) 407-2400 or text anonymously at 274637 with the word SHERIFF and a message.
"If you know someone who was pregnant and now does not have her baby, we need to hear from you," Christiansen said. "We believe somebody in the community holds the key to bring closure to Baby Hope."
Christiansen reminded parents in crisis that there is help available. The state's Safe Haven law says parents can legally relinquish babies up to 30 days old at a safe haven, no questions asked. Unharmed babies can be handed to staff members at any fire station, police station, hospital, emergency services facility, or college or university police station statewide.
Baby Hope was buried Sept. 22 at St. Michael Cemetery, about a half-mile from where she was found. The cause and manner of her death remains undetermined.