Woman Charged With Murder in 'Babies in the Water' Case

Authorities say Minnesota mother left 2 infants near Mississippi River
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2022 2:00 AM CDT
Mom Charged With Murdering 'Babies in the Water'
This undated photo provided by the Goodhue County, Minnesota, Sheriff's Office shows Jennifer Matter.   (Goodhue County Sheriff's Office via AP)

(Newser) – Decades after the bodies of two infants were found in the Mississippi River in what locals call the "babies in the water" case, authorities say they've found the babies' mother and charged her with murder. Jennifer Matter, 50, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the death of a newborn boy whose body was found in Goodhue County, Minn., in 2003; charges in the death of a newborn girl found in 1999 in the same area are still pending, KARE 11 reports. Matter faces up to 40 years behind bars. Authorities say DNA testing had already confirmed the infants were related, and later confirmed Matter is their mother, NBC News reports. The body of a third infant, unrelated to Matter's children, was found in the river in 2007. That case is still under investigation.

Authorities say Matter, whom they found after identifying the father of the baby girl through DNA analysis and then interviewing him, initially denied having anything to do with the babies, but during a second interview after the DNA match was determined, she admitted she gave birth to both during a time when she was drinking excessively, doing "a lot of stupid things," and was in and out of jail. She said she didn't realize she was pregnant in 1999 until she gave birth at home in her bathroom, and that the baby girl was "blue" and not breathing, CBS News reports. She allegedly admitted she left the infant by the river. Authorities say she admitted leaving the boy near the river four years later, but that she claimed he was alive and breathing when he was born. She allegedly said she hoped someone would find him there. (Read more Minnesota stories.)

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