gas station security footage

23 years later, mother found by police explains why she threw her baby boy, born alive, in gas station trash can

A Washington woman accused of leaving her newborn in a gas station trash can has explained her actions to investigators, following her arrest earlier this month.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, “Baby Boy Doe” was found inside a trash can at a Lake City convenience store on November 20, 1997. Although the baby was found deceased, the King County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that he had been born alive two days prior. The baby’s cause of death was listed as a homicide.

A  Seattle woman, Christine Marie Warren, now age 50, was arrested for the infant’s death in March. Authorities said that new DNA technology helped them track down the woman, who was 27 at the time of the incident.

A gas station clerk found the baby in a bathroom trash can a few days after Warren allegedly entered the store. The clerk told police that they “saw the infant’s body through the clear plastic trash bag,” Law & Crime reports.

“Warren admitted that she was the mother of Baby Doe, that she gave birth to the baby in the gas station restroom, and that she abandoned the baby in the restroom trash can,” court papers filed in March said.

“Warren said her pregnancy was unplanned and that the father of her child reacted negatively when she told him she was pregnant. Warren said that she could not handle the idea of having the child and blocked the pregnancy out of her mind. She ignored the fact that she was pregnant.

She said that she did not receive any medical care during her pregnancy and did not tell anyone she was pregnant. Warren stated that on the night of Baby Doe’s birth, she was riding in a friend’s car and started experiencing cramps. She asked her friend to stop at the gas station. Warren said that she went inside and delivered the child in the restroom.”

She said that the baby dropped into the toilet where she left him for several minutes. Warren said that she panicked and placed the baby in the trash can, covering him with other debris inside.”

Warren reportedly said she didn’t think the baby was alive when he was born but admitted that she didn’t bother to check his vital signs to make sure.

During the initial investigation, authorities had leads they were following up on, including security footage of the suspect, but nothing panned out. Investigators revisited the case in 2018, with the help of genealogist Barbara Rae-Venter, of Monterey, California. Rae-Venter previously played an integral role in helping authorities track down the Golden State Killer.

According to Seattle police homicide detective Rolf Norton, investigators found a placental blood clot at the gas station, which they sent to forensic scientists at the State Patrol Crime Lab. This allowed authorities to obtain a DNA match for the mother. However, it was never matched in the FBI’s DNA in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

According to KIRO 7, Warren voluntarily put her DNA results in an open genealogy databank before she knew authorities were investigating her. She chose to make the results public, police said. In order to get additional confirmation, investigators sent Warren a fake invitation to participate in a taste test of flavored water by a fictional company, Sparkling Icy.

Warren responded to the letter and authorities used the saliva on the envelope’s seal to extract DNA from her. The DNA was an exact match for the placental clot found years earlier.

Prosecutors added that Warren is now fully cooperating with the investigation and has no prior criminal record.

“I can certainly say there’s no celebration going on, this is an awful case,” Seattle police Detective Rolf Norton said.

On Monday, Warren was charged with second-degree murder. Her bail was set at $10,000.

Warren is expected to make a plea on March 29. Check back for updates.

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[Feature Photo: Seattle PD]