MERIDEN, CT (WFSB) - Police in Meriden said they solved a cold case three decades in the making.
A baby was left abandoned under a tree in South Meriden in 1988.
Through DNA and forensic genealogy, police said they were able to identify the mother as Karen Kuzmak Roche, who was 25 years old at the time of the abandonment.
Police said they believe she will not be charged. They said they looked into a manslaughter charge, but it has a statute of limitations of 20 years.
They interviewed the mother on Jan. 2, where she admitted to being the baby's mother. She told them she was in a rough time in her life, had delivered the baby herself and deposited it at the base of a tree.
Police described her as remorseful.
"Ms. Roche indicated she had been waiting 32 years for the day in which police would be knocking on the door regarding this incident," said Chief Jeffrey Cossette, Meriden Police Department.
They provided an update on the case on Tuesday morning. See it here.
Police are still looking for the father, but said they have a pretty good idea about his identity.
The baby boy was found wrapped in a blanket but had frozen to death.
From that moment on, Meriden police said they vowed to figure out the identities of his parents.
The police department adopted the child and named him David Paul.
“David Paul - God’s beloved little man. I never forgot that and we made a promise that we would never forget 32 years of proof. The fact now that we know so much about the mom, and so much about what happened thanks to Colleen, at least we can rest," said retired Meriden Police Chief Robert Kosienski.
Every year, police hold a graveside ceremony in honor of his memory.
Thanks to a breakthrough with DNA and forensic genealogy, led by Colleen Fitzpatrick and her team that started working on this case back in 2012, getting a break in 2019 with some distant matches.
"You come up with a list of DNA cousins. You really don't know who they are, but your job is to network them into a family and find where your John Doe, in this case David Paul, fits into that family," Fitzpatrick said.
In hopes of preventing similar tragedies, the Safe Haven Law was created back in 2000. It allows parents to bring a newborn to any Connecticut emergency room to avoid prosecution for abandonment.