Technology helps Virginia Beach detectives learn more about infant victim in 21-year-old cold case

Posted at 1:42 PM, Jun 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-23 17:24:15-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Technology has helped detectives make a recent discovery in a 21-year-old Virginia Beach cold case.

The body of a newborn baby girl was found in 1996 in a Virginia Beach warehouse. The baby's identity was never found and detectives have been searching for her parents for the past 20 years.

Infant's footprints

The baby's body was found in a plastic bag in a locker at the Lillian Vernon catalog distribution center on International Parkway.

At the time more than 4,000 people worked in the warehouse including 2,800 women.

A worker found her just hours after a bomb threat forced the building to be evacuated.

The baby was wrapped in a red golf shirt and was thought to be less than a week old.

Digitally reconstructed picture of the shirt the infant was found in (Courtesy: VBPD)

In 2016, police announced they were putting in new efforts to find the baby's mother, thanks to advances in technology over the past 20 years.

Virginia Beach investigators sought the services of Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company that specializes in DNA phenotyping.

DNA phenotyping is the process of predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence.

The results of the baby's DNA submission indicated that she was 94.2% East Asian descent. The report indicates that the baby's mother and father's lineage are possibly from Cambodia, Dai, Lahu, Thai, Vietnam or the Philippines.

Police said they’d collected DNA from several women in an effort to eliminate potential mothers. They've also been interviewing some of the employees that were working at the warehouse at the time the baby was born.

The new discovery about the baby's lineage narrows down the pool of former employees to look into.

Anyone with information that may help detectives learn more in this case is asked to call Virginia Beach Crime Solvers at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

The case remains under investigation by members of the VBPD's Cold Case Unit.


Police continue to investigate identity of baby’s body found 20 years ago

Virginia Beach Police looking for mother of infant victim of 1996 homicide case