In 1996, a baby girl was put in a garbage bag with rocks and thrown in a Colorado reservoir. Three days later, the bag washed ashore and was discovered by two boys.
According to KKTV, the boys were playing on the shores of Horsetooth Reservoir when they discovered the deceased child in August 1996. The baby, later named “Baby Faith,” still had her umbilical cord attached.
At the time, detectives said Faith was born alive, The Denver Post reports. She was laid to rest by community members after a local funeral home and cemetery donated a headstone and burial plot to her.
Woman Believed to Be Responsible for Baby Found in Reservoir Arrested 23 Years Later
However, it was 23 years after Faith was found that a 42-year-old woman named Jennifer Katalinich, also known as Jennifer Tjornehoj, was arrested in connection to the child. Jennifer was charged with first- and second-degree murder.
As the county coroner revealed, Baby Faith died of asphyxiation. Jennifer would have been 18 years old when the infant was born and living in a dorm at Colorado State University, KKTV reports. However, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office has yet to confirm if Jennifer was arrested because she was the one to give birth to the child.
Now retired, Sergeant Andy Josey, who worked the case when Faith was first found, said in a press conference following the arrest that they feared they would never know why Faith was thrown into the reservoir that August day.
“Until recently, we feared that we would never know (Baby Faith) by any other name or why she was left alone in the cold waters of Horsetooth Reservoir in August of 1996. I still see her. I still remember the things that we talked about at the time, the things we did at the time. It’s always there and it will always be there.”
As The Denver Post reports, Safe Have laws in Colorado weren’t passed until 2000. However, it’s reported that there was still help available to mothers who needed it.
Two years after Faith was found, law enforcement exhausted all of their leads and closed the case in 1998. The case was reopened in 2006, on the 10th anniversary of Faith’s passing, still, despite advances in technology, Faith’s DNA received zero matches.
Then in 2016, her DNA was tested again, sheriff’s Captain Bob Coleman said at the news conference. It was on July 17, 2019, that law enforcement was informed about five potential matches to Faith’s DNA.
While the first three matches were determined to have no connection to Faith, the fourth—who lived in Maryland—gave law enforcement Jennifer’s name, believing she may know something about Faith. The Denver Post reports that officials first talked with Jennifer on October 18 and made their arrest two weeks later.
Jennifer has since posted bail. She is scheduled to appear back in court on January 21.
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