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Morris County prosecutor says decades-old ‘Baby Mary’ cold case has been solved

The child’s mother, who was 17 years old at the time, has been charged in Baby Mary's death.

Chris Keating

Sep 7, 2023, 9:20 PM

Updated 287 days ago


The mystery surrounding the 1984 death of Baby Mary in Morris County has been solved, according to prosecutors.
Police have officially identified her parents after years of searching for answers. The child was abandoned at birth and found in a plastic bag in a park.
"Baby Mary," as she was dubbed, was found 38 years ago by two boys fishing in Dismal Harmony Park in Mendham. She was wrapped in a towel in a plastic bag. Her umbilical cord was still attached. The medical examiner determined she died of exposure to the elements and hypothermia.
Soon after she was found, Mary was buried in a Mendham cemetery belonging to St. Joseph Church.
The Morris County Prosecutor's Office announced on Thursday that DNA helped identify Baby Mary's mother and father. The mother was 17 and the father was 19 at the time of her birth. The mother was found living in South Carolina and has been criminally charged.
Prosecutor Robert Carroll says, “She has been charged with one count of manslaughter. Since the woman was a juvenile at the time of Baby Mary’s death and has been charged by way of a juvenile complaint her name will not be released.”
The investigation revealed the father died in 2009 and never knew about the child.
One of the keys to solving this case was cooperation from the father’s family. His siblings provided DNA to match him with Baby Mary.
Mendham police took up her cause, and she was given the name Mary. For years, they’ve held a ceremony at her gravesite on Dec. 24.
Mendham Police Chief Ross Johnson says, “We are finally able to bring closure to this case and for the community that supported her. If not for the hard work and dedication of our officers who have worked this case over the years, this case would be unsolved.”

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