Unknown woman, identified only by her DNA, indicted in Baby Hope probe

  • A cross was placed three years ago at the site where a baby's body was found near Wheaton.

    A cross was placed three years ago at the site where a baby's body was found near Wheaton. Daily Herald file photo

 
 
Updated 8/5/2019 4:06 PM

An unknown woman, identified only by her DNA profile, has been indicted in the case of Baby Hope, an infant who was found dead nearly three years ago in an unincorporated area near Wheaton, DuPage County authorities said Monday.

Police have been searching for Baby Hope's parents since the infant's body was found on Aug. 15, 2016, in a backpack on a private drive off Plamondon Road. The DuPage County coroner's office previously confirmed Baby Hope took at least one breath before she died.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The DuPage sheriff's office started an investigation to not only identify the body but also determine what happened to her and how she got to where she was found, officials said. The investigation has remained active.

On Thursday, a grand jury in DuPage indicted a Jane Doe on a charge of failure to report the death or disappearance of a child, a Class 4 felony. The indictment and charging documents list the DNA information of Jane Doe. It alleges she committed the crime between Aug. 14 and Aug. 15, 2016.

"The investigation into what happened to Baby Hope will not end until we have answers to all of our questions," State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement.

He said the sheriff's office has dedicated "significant resources to not only identify Baby Hope, but to also learn what happened to her."

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Sheriff James Mendrick thanked the detectives "who have worked so diligently on such an emotionally taxing case."

"This indictment is one step closer toward a resolution that may finally explain the circumstances of what happened," Mendrick said in a statement. "Our office will continue to tirelessly work on this case until Baby Hope can finally rest in peace."

Baby Hope was buried Sept. 22, 2016, at St. Michael Cemetery in Wheaton, surrounded by tearful officers and strangers.

The child's story struck a chord with the Wheaton community.

A tree and plaque in memory of Baby Hope, who was named by sheriff's police, were installed in April 2017 in Seven Gables Park in Wheaton. The plaque reminds visitors that hospitals and fire and police stations are safe havens, where babies can be surrendered with no questions asked.

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