Unsolved newborn baby deaths haunt Goodhue County

Death investigations take an incredible toll on detectives, especially the deaths of children. When those cases go unsolved, the toll is even greater.

There are three cases in Goodhue County that have weighed on investigators' mind as they continue to search for answers, hopeful someone will come forward with the truth.

Three newborn babies have washed ashore over the last 18 years and to this day, no one knows who they are or how they died.

Goodhue County Sheriff's Captain Pat Thompson has been there for all three cases and never imagined it would take this long to solve, believing somebody would eventually come forward with information.

The first case happened in 1999.  A newborn Caucasian baby girl was found by fisherman, wrapped in a towel and floating in the water near Red Wing.

The second case happened in 2003.  A newborn Caucasian baby boy was found washed ashore on Lake Pepin. These two cases were eventually linked through DNA, meaning they share at least one parent.

But still no answers.

In 2007, a newborn baby was found in the marina at the Treasure Island Casino. This baby is described as Native American or Hispanic and unrelated to the first two, but the details are eerily the same.

"As time goes on I get discouraged, but at the same time as I stand here today, we're not giving up," said Captain Thompson.

The Goodhue County Sheriff's Office has taken 127 tips and 38 DNA samples over the years, but they don't believe they've received a tip that will eventually solve any of these cases. 

Under Minnesota's Safe Haven law, a mother or someone on her behalf can leave a newborn in a safe place within seven days, no questions asked. That includes a hospital or urgent care and you can call 911 to have an ambulance pick up the child.