JUNEAU, Wis. (CBS 58)– Dodge County investigators found the mother of an abandoned newborn nearly 13 years after the baby was found dead in a wooded area near the Village of Theresa, according to the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Dale Schmidt identified the mother as Milwaukee woman Karin Luttinen. She is charged with concealing the death of a child.
Investigators identified the baby as “Baby Theresa,” naming her after the Village of Theresa.
COLD CASE SOLVED: Dodge County Sheriff’s Office announces they’ve found the family of Baby Theresa— a newborn baby found abandoned in a garbage bag in April 2009. Mother identified as a Milwaukee woman. @CBS58pic.twitter.com/ys1muF8yQ9
— Gabriella Bachara (@GabbyBachara) March 18, 2022
“Until today, the community has been left wondering if her family would ever be identified. Today we can provide that closure,” Schmidt said.
Family tree DNA results told detectives Baby Theresa was linked to the last name Luttinen, according to a criminal complaint.
“They used a (system), similar to Ancestry, which provided us a family tree for Baby Theresa,” Dodge County Medical Examiner PJ Schoebel said.
When law enforcement asked Luttinen to take a DNA test, she denied ever being pregnant. The results would later confirm Baby Theresa was her child, according to a criminal complaint.
The criminal complaint said Luttinen told detectives that she never grasped the fact that she was pregnant. She delivered the baby by herself in a bathtub in her Shorewood home.
She goes on to describe that she passed out after giving birth, but remembers seeing the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck.
Luttinen drove to the woods where she left the baby in a garbage bag. She drove home, and pretended like nothing ever happened, according to the criminal complaint.
Schmidt called DNA and genealogy a huge benefit to their investigative process.
“When we get to these more serious cases, they’re definitely going to play a role in those investigations,” Schmidt said.
Luttinen told detectives the wooded area was meant to be a resting place for her baby, according to the criminal complaint.
The community came together to give Baby Theresa a funeral in 2009.
“Certainly, a lot of different emotions are going to be felt by the community here with this one, but at the end of the day, we have closure,” Schmidt said.
The criminal complaint concealed the identity of the father. Luttinen confirmed neither he nor anyone else ever knew she was pregnant and gave birth.