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Red Wing, MN (KROC-AM News) - A rural Red Wing woman has been identified as the mother of two of the three babies found dead in the Mississippi River in southeastern Minnesota between 1999 and 2007.

At a news conference today in Red Wing, Goodhue County Attorney Stephen O’Keefe announced that 50-year-old Jennifer Lynn Matter has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder and will be arraigned in Goodhue County Court on Tuesday. The charges stem from the death of her newborn son, whose body was found on December 7, 2003, in Lake Pepin at the Methodist Campus Beach at Frontenac.

Goodhue County Sheriff Marty Kelly says Matter was connected to the infant’s death through DNA testing, which also identified her as the mother of a newborn girl who was found dead in the Mississippi River in Red Wing on November 11, 1999. The County Attorney says Matter has not been charged in that case, but it remains under investigation and additional charges are possible.

(below is a portion of the complaint)

Goodhue County Court
Goodhue County Court

“Genetic genealogy and Rapid DNA testing were both employed to develop a break in the case and then quickly confirm the identity of the babies’ mother,” BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said. “These kinds of scientific advances that can aid investigations are happening all the time. That is why it is so important to never give up on any unsolved case.”

A news release says the DNA testing that resulted in the criminal charges was conducted by Parabon NanoLabs, which is a well-known company specializing in genetic genealogy work. The testing was paid for through donations by Goodhue County residents.

The body of a third newborn was recovered from the Mississippi River near Red Wing in the marina at the Treasure Island Casino in 2007. The death of the infant girl remains unsolved.

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