Winona's Baby Angel cold case could have possible DNA match

A baby's body that was found in the Mississippi River over a decade ago may be one step closer to being identified. 

It started with a disturbing discovery. In 2011, a family out boating over Labor Day weekend noticed a bag floating in the Mississippi River just south of Winona.

Inside the bag was the body of a 2-day-old baby girl wrapped in a T-shirt, along with several porcelain angels, which were used to give the infant a name. However, investigators were never able to identify her or her mother.

"It's a big story here. It's a big story all over because of the circumstances," said Winona County Sheriff Ron Ganrude.

According to a search warrant filed in Winona County District Court, a nonprofit genetic genealogy company named Firebird Forensics, which helps law enforcement identify suspects and remains, gave investigators the name of a Winona woman, who could be Baby Angel's mother about a year ago.

Firebird Forensics previously helped the FBI catch Joseph DeAngelo, who was otherwise known as the Golden State Killer. 

After the woman hesitated to give investigators a voluntary DNA sample a couple of times, they searched the trash outside her home. DNA profiling of an item from that trash and a blood sample from Baby Angel determined the infant could be the woman's biological child.

"There's a lot of questions asked. There's people that visit the grave site. We make sure there's flowers out there every year and that the baby doesn't go forgotten," said Ganrude.

Investigators say since the search warrant was signed, the woman has given them a DNA swab, which they brought to the BCA. Test results are expected to take a couple of weeks.

"We're always hoping that we're going to get that one tip, that one lead, the information that's gonna put some closure on the case for the baby, for us of the sheriff's office that have worked it for so many years and for the community that it is concerned about what happened," said Ganrude.