In July 2019, the remains of an unidentified infant, less than a year old, were discovered inside a residence in the 6000 block of Magnolia Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri. Detectives from St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's Child Abuse and Homicide Units responded to the call and found a male infant who had been wrapped in a blanket, placed into a cardboard box, and stored inside of the home's freezer. A preliminary analysis led investigators to believe that the clothing worn by the deceased infant were made in the mid to late 1960s. The infant had likely spent decades in the freezer before being discovered. Little information was available to investigators to aid in identifying the infant as well as the circumstances surrounding the infant's death. The infant's cause of death could not be determined conclusively.
In March 2023, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department teamed with Othram to leverage advanced DNA testing to help generate new leads that could identify the unknown male infant and his family. Forensic evidence from the infant was submitted to Othram's laboratory in The Woodlands, Texas. Using Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing®, Othram scientists developed a comprehensive DNA profile for the unknown infant.
During the course of the investigation, a concerned citizen contacted the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department with information about potential relatives of the infant. Investigators worked with the candidate relatives to obtain reference DNA samples that could be used to determine if, in fact, they were related to the unidentified infant. The comprehensive DNA profile for the unknown infant was compared with the DNA profiles of two candidate family members and this testing along with a follow up investigation by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Detectives, confirmed familial relationship between the two candidate family members and the infant. While investigators could not find evidence that the infant was legally named, investigators were able to establish that the infant was a half-brother to both candidate family members.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department extends their thanks to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Lab, the St. Louis Medical Examiner’s Office, and Othram for their dedication and efforts through the course of this investigation. Additionally, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and Othram gratefully acknowledge Audiochuck, an Indianapolis-based media company that develops true crime content, for funding the costs associated with advanced DNA testing in this case.