Over 40 years after children found a dead baby near a road, Vermont police find infant’s parents and close the case

More than 40 years after some Vermont children waiting for a school bus discovered a dead baby off the side of the road, state police have announced that they found the infant’s parents and no charges will be filed.

The deceased infant was found in Northfield on April 1, 1982, state police said Wednesday. Investigators determined that the deceased baby was a recently born boy but his identify was unknown. An autopsy was unable to determine the cause of death or if the baby died of existing medical conditions, police said.

“Although the manner of death was never classified as a homicide, investigators have always treated this case as a homicide until that classification could be ruled out,” police said.

The initial investigation did not turn up any information to help identify the infant or his parents, police said. Evidentiary DNA testing was not available at the time and the case remained unresolved, police said.

Marge Czok, who lives in Northfield, told CBS affiliate WCAX-TV that she worked in a doctor’s office when police opened their investigation.

“It was shock, it was total shock,” Czok said. “The doctors were discussing what had happened and it was just so sad to even have this happen.”

In 2020, state police worked with a DNA technology company to do genealogy analysis with the work funded by donations. In 2021, the company provided possible names of the baby’s biological mother and father, who had ties to the Northfield area in 1982.

Vermont State Police said they contacted the individuals at their home in Maine and obtained DNA from them, which confirmed they were the parents. The father told police he left Vermont for an extended period in 1982 and did not know about the pregnancy or disposal of the deceased baby.

The mother admitted she unlawfully disposed of the deceased infant. She said she did not know she was pregnant, and did not have any symptoms until she began to feel abdominal pain. She labored alone for several hours and lost consciousness, she told police. She said when she came to, she realized she had delivered a baby but the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and he did not survive, according to police.

She said she planned to find a spot in the woods to bury him but while walking in the woods she thought she heard voices and got scared. She slipped and the baby fell from her arms and she ran, police said.

“They were able to get a lot of details from her and then being able to spend the time with her, speaking to her and understanding the situation from her view, there’s really nothing that would cause us to not believe her,” said Vermont State Police Capt. Jeremy Hill.

State police met with the county prosecutor about the case, who determined that charges of murder are unwarranted, police said. Charges related to the unauthorized disposal of a dead body are beyond the statute of limitations, police said.

“This resolution took decades to obtain,” police said in a statement. “The Vermont State Police expresses its gratitude to members of the public who provided information and donated to help finance the genetic testing and analysis.”

In April 1982, a reverend named the baby Matthew Isaac, and a funeral was held at St. Mary’s Church in Northfield, police said. Matthew Isaac Doe was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery after the service.

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