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Mother of ‘Angel Baby Doe’ charged more than 20 years after newborn found dead on side of road in Texas

A Texas woman has been charged more than two decades after her newborn baby was found dead and abandoned on the side of a road, authorities said Tuesday. 

Shelby Stotts was indicted for second-degree manslaughter after she was identified as the child’s mother through DNA enhancement technology in the cold case. 

“After more than twenty years, we are closer to securing justice for Angel Baby Doe and ensuring that the person responsible for this tragedy is held accountable,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “I am thankful for our investigators’ talent and tenacity, and I commend the law enforcement professionals with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office for their dedication to uncovering the truth.”

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Stotts, 48, abandoned the baby girl, dubbed “Angel Baby Doe,” in November 2001, Ken Paxton said in a news release. She failed to seek “prompt medical care” after giving birth and failed to clamp the baby’s umbilical cord, which caused the child to bleed to death, authorities said. 

The lifeless newborn was found wrapped in a jacket on the side of a road between the towns of Alvarado and Burleson, 20 miles south of Fort Worth, with the umbilical cord still attached.

Ken Paxton in front of Supreme Court

Because of the circumstances surrounding the child’s death, detectives determined the death to be the result of foul play, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office said. 

In June 2021, the sheriff’s office enlisted forensic-grade genome sequencing from Othram, a DNA lab based in the Houston suburb of The Woodlands that helps law enforcement tackle cold cases using genetic science. 

A genealogy team traced the child’s familial connections and ultimately identified her mother as Stotts.

A Johnson County Sheriff's squad car

The case marks the fifteenth Texas cold case solved through Othram’s DNA technology. Texas’ “Safe Haven Law” was enacted in 1999 and allows parents to drop off unwanted children at fire stations and hospitals for up to 60 days with no questions asked. 

Stotts is being held on $100,000 bond.

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