Brook Graham

Mother throws tiny newborn in vacuum cleaner box, dumps her in trash-filled field, police say. DNA captures her 29 years later

A South Carolina woman is behind bars after DNA results from family genealogy sites linked the woman to baby left inside a box in a field 29 years ago, police said on Thursday.

StarTribune reports that the DNA results initially led investigators to the baby’s father, who in turn said that 53-year-old Brook Graham was likely the mother of the child. Police arrested Graham on Wednesday and gave her a court-ordered DNA test. The woman is reportedly refusing to speak with detectives.

In February 1990, a newborn baby girl was found dumped in a rural, trash-filled area in Columbia. A man out picking flowers for wife on Valentine’s Day discovered the baby inside a Sears Kenmore vacuum cleaner box. The 6.5-pound newborn was covered with old rags and bedding.

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Greenville County police Chief Ken Miller said that every detective in the county started working on the case, trying to determine the identify of the newborn, who became known among law enforcement officials as “Julie Valentine.” The infant still had her umbilical cord attached. Detectives said the baby was found deceased, but was likely born alive and suffered several days before dying in the box.

Trash-filled area where baby Julie Valentine was found [Greenville Police Department]
The baby’s father told police he didn’t have any knowledge of the baby, but the only person he had sex with during that time period was Graham, who lived with him at the time. The unnamed man said Graham left him long ago for someone else and he didn’t keep in contact with her.

While reviewing an order history of Sears’ vacuum cleaners, investigators discovered that Graham’s boyfriend at the time bought a vacuum cleaner in 1990. The box baby Julie was found in matched the exact model. Authorities have no reason to believe the man was involved in the crime. He’s been fully cooperative during the investigation, according to police.

Investigators said Graham continued to live in South Carolina after the incident, and now has two adult children.

Authorities arrested Graham and took her to the Greenville County Law Enforcement Center, where she gave a saliva sample for DNA testing. The results are expected back within a few weeks, according to FOX Carolina.

Graham has a number of previous criminal charges, including arrests for breach of trust, bad checks, financial transaction card fraud, and forgery. She’s currently behind bars without bail, facing a homicide by neglect charge. If convicted, she faces life in prison.

The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

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[Feature Photo: Brooke Graham/Greenville PD]