Colorado woman arrested in 1996 death of newborn

November 5, 2019 GMT

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — A woman was arrested Tuesday in connection with the 1996 death of a newborn girl whose body was found in a garbage bag weighed down with rocks in a northern Colorado reservoir.

Jennifer Katalinich, 42, also known as Jennifer Tjornehoj, turned herself in to authorities and was booked on charges of first- and second-degree murder, The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported .

Two 11-year-old boys playing on the shores of Horsetooth Reservoir on Aug. 24, 1996, found the newborn wrapped in a towel in the bag with her umbilical cord still attached, and the county coroner determined she died of asphyxiation.

The unidentified girl was later named “Baby Faith.”

Katalinich, of Erie, was 18 at the time and was listed as living in a dorm at Colorado State University. Her attorney, David Mestas, said Tuesday it was too early in the case to comment.

The investigation was suspended in June 1998, but it was reopened on the 10-year-anniversary of the discovery of her body. Investigators hoped advanced DNA technology would produce new leads and publicity would generate new tips, but no new information surfaced.

In November 2016, investigators resubmitted DNA evidence to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for updated analysis. That analysis eventually led to Katalinich.

“At the end of the day, regardless of the outcome, when this case is finally adjudicated, Baby Faith will have two things she didn’t have on Aug. 24, 1996 — that’s a voice and a true identity,” said Robert Coleman, captain of the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office’s Investigations Division.

The baby died before the passage of Colorado’s Safe Haven Law, which allows a parent to give his or her newborn, up to 72 hours old, to an employee at a fire station or hospital without being prosecuted.


Information from: Fort Collins Coloradoan, http://www.coloradoan.com