LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Authorities in Larimer County on Tuesday afternoon announced an arrest in the 1996 cold case of “Baby Faith.” Jennifer Katalinich, 42, now faces first-degree murder charges, according to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.
The unidentified newborn’s body was found in a garbage bag in Horsetooth Reservoir on Aug. 24, 1996.
Katalinich was arrested on Tuesday morning and is charged with two murder counts, according to court records. The crime is alleged to have happened on Aug. 21, 1996, which would suggest the child died days before its body was found.
CBS4 reported back in 1996 that two boys found the child in a bag tangled in a tree stump in Horsetooth Reservoir. The coroner said the child was born alive and died of asphyxiation.
Then-Sheriff Richard Shockley said at the time: “There has been a young lady, or woman who was pregnant, who suddenly is not and doesn’t have a child, and we (hope to) talk to and see what happened.” He died in 2011 and never saw the crime solved.
Dozens of strangers held a memorial service for the baby, who was given the name “Baby Faith.”
Investigators reopened the Baby Faith case on Aug. 24, 2006, 10 years after the child was found. They hoped advances in DNA technology could produce new leads. Investigators also hoped that reopening the case on the 10-year anniversary could generate new leads and information from the public.
In November 2016, investigators resubmitted evidence containing DNA to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for updated analysis and CBI continued to analyze the DNA.
After getting the results, investigators identified five individuals with a possibility of being related to Baby Faith. They narrowed that search to four individuals who may have information to advance the investigation.
Investigators traveled to Minnesota where three of the individuals lived. After the interviews, all three were excluded from involvement in the case. They traveled to Maryland and met with the fourth individual. Based on that interview, investigators determined that Katalinich could have information about the Baby Faith case.
Investigators met with her on Oct. 18. After that interview, investigators presented the case to the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office. A warrant was issued for her arrest for first-degree and second-degree murder.
Katalilnich surrendered to police on Tuesday and was booked into the Larimer County Jail. Katalinich posted $25,000 bond and was released.
Anyone with information about the “Baby Faith” case who has not spoken to investigators, is asked to call LCSO Investigator Rita Servin at 970-498-5167.
The Safe Haven law went into effect in 2000. The law, according to the website, “allows a parent to hand over an infant, up to 72 hours old, to an employee at any Fire Station or Hospital, with absolutely NO QUESTIONS ASKED. So long as the baby is unharmed, the parent will not be prosecuted for abandonment.”