cold case

Woman Charged 17 Years After Baby's Body Was Found in Virginia Park

The newborn who came to be known as Baby Daniel would now be almost 17 years old

Baby Daniel's Grave
Chesapeake Television

A woman in Virginia has been charged in the death of a newborn baby nearly 17 years after his body was found in a park.

A grand jury in the city of Chesapeake indicted Melissa Sue Chrisman, 41, on charges of felony murder and felony child abuse and neglect, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Police spokesman Leo Kosinski declined to identify Chrisman's relation to the child.

Known as Baby Daniel, the infant found with his umbilical cord still attached froze to death. He was found on Jan. 17, 2003 and was wrapped in two blankets and wearing a diaper.

Court documents say a Chesapeake detective recently assigned to the case sent two blankets to a lab for testing. Police also sought a search warrant to collect a DNA sample from Chrisman.

Chrisman had been sent to a city jail. It's unclear if she has an attorney.

The case was featured last summer on the City of Chesapeake's TV station and its YouTube channel.

City Detective James Thomas said, "We don't know if it's gonna be a young mother who got rid of her child out of fear of telling her parents she was pregnant, or possibly an older lady who got pregnant but didn't want any more children."

Baby Daniel was buried in a donated plot in Suffolk, Virginia. A grave marker reads "Loved by many."

Virginia law allows for a parent to surrender their baby to a hospital emergency room within 14 days of birth. Go here for more information on infant "safe haven" laws.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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