FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – More than 20 years after a newborn was found in a trash bag along the shores of Horestooth Reservoir, community leaders from 1996 are reflecting on the impact “Baby Faith’s” murder had on the northern Colorado community. The child’s parents were never identified and the murder investigation went cold for decades.
However, thanks to DNA testing technology, an arrest was made last week. Jennifer Katalinich, 42, of Erie was arrested in connection to the homicide.
Timberline Church Senior Pastor Dary Northrop volunteered to host the funeral and burial for Baby Faith in 1996.
“In 1996 we were still a small community,” Northrop said. “It was kind of awkward, because you don’t know any of the parents, you didn’t know the story. At this point, you didn’t know anything.”
After decades without a lead in the case, Northrop was pleased to receive a call from Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith about the arrest.
“I just couldn’t believe it. The DNA. You watch these special crimes show. And, like, wow this actually worked,” Northrop said.
Northrop said the arrest helped bring closure to the community, a community which was living in fear for months after the death.
“Even when we put that precious little body to rest, you are kind of looking over your shoulder for months after that,” Northrop told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “Like. Really? Fort Collins? A baby has been left dead? Who would do this?”
Now that he knows who is allegedly linked to the crime, Northrop told his congregation they could take this as a time to remember the lost while also making sure to love others so they aren’t compelled to make poor decisions.
“Sometimes ignorance is bliss. But, I am happy that justice has now been done,” Northrop said.
Larimer County investigators did not release the exact connection of Katalinich to Baby Faith, only saying DNA testing put the two together.