A California mother has been arrested in the death of her newborn baby boy in the San Francisco Bay Area 32 years ago. As reported by the New York Post, 52-year-old Lesa Lopez, of Salida, admitted to investigators that she was the mother of the baby and implicated herself in the crime, authorities said Monday.
The case of the murdered Castro Valley newborn, dubbed Baby John Doe by law enforcement, was finally solved decades later with the help of pioneering genetic genealogy, a method of linking crime-scene DNA with public portals of ancestry information.“Lopez, who was 20 years old at the time of the incident, told investigators she hid the pregnancy from her family and friends and provided details of what happened,” Sgt. Ray Kelly said in a statement.
The baby’s body was discovered by two children playing on May 15, 1988 in Castro Valley, inside a paper bag left among trees and bushes on the bank of a creek.
An autopsy later determined the baby was alive at birth and had been killed.After his death, the newborn was given a funeral at St. Leanders Church in San Leandro attended by more than 200 people, although it is not known if the California mother attended the service.Baby Joe Doe was posthumously named by a priest, who called him Richard Jayson Terrance Rein in honor of the church’s vicars and priests.
Local ABC News affiliate ABC10 reports the case had been cold for 17 years, according to a press release from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
However there was a breakthrough in 2005 when the DNA of a woman was collected from the crime scene. At the time, investigators believed it belonged to the baby’s birth mother, who was long considered a suspect, but she couldn’t be identified.