Meriden PD identify mother in 1988 cold case involving death of newborn

Connecticut

MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A cold case has been in the shadow of the Meriden Police Department for 32 years, but a new partnership and DNA testing has finally solved the case.

On a very cold day back in January of 1988, a newborn infant was found frozen to death in a parking lot. Officers adopted him and gave him the name David Paul. David was left to freeze to death in the AGC parking lot on Evansville Avenue.

On Tuesday, police say because of forensic genealogy, they have completed the case and identified the woman who was David Paul’s mother as Karen Kuzmak Roche.

According to police, investigators linked distant cousins to narrowing down a Jane Doe/John Doe related to a DNA thread that they were looking to source back.

RELATED: Cracking a cold case: Meriden PD using DNA testing to find mother who left newborn to freeze to death in parking lot 32 years ago

Police say that Roche confessed, told officers that she has “waited 32 years for police to knock on her door” and said that she does feel remorse.

Roche said that she lived in the neighborhood where she left David Paul and was 25-years-old at the time of the incident. She also said she was in a bad state of mind, in a relationship, and had delivered the baby herself because no one knew she was pregnant.

Roche then said she dropped the baby at the base of a tree and called the fire department but didn’t tell them about the baby. Instead, she said they needed to look for something in the parking lot but was very vague.

Because the tree was not visible from the road, the fire department’s search yielded negative results.

Police believe that David Paul remained under that tree from December 28th until January 2nd when he was found by officers.

Roche is not facing charges at this time. Police are looking at possibly charging her with manslaughter, a charge that has a 20 year statute of limitations.

WEB EXTRA: Coverage of baby David Paul cold case in 1988, reported by News 8’s Ann Nyberg

Police say that while Roche still lives in Connecticut, she is no longer a Meriden resident. She has since been married and has other children.

Roche told police that had there been a Safe Haven Law at the time, that she would have taken advantage of it.

Police say they believe they also know the identity of the father but are not releasing it at this time. They are hoping to speak with him as part of the investigation.

Every year since 1988, Meriden officers held a ceremony in remembrance of David Paul.

Tammy Hoffman remembers that night 32 years ago.

“I was living in South Meriden on the corner of Evansville Avenue and Baker Avenue and it was a knock at the door and it was one of the police officers that was responding and making us aware of the fact that a baby had been abandoned in the lot next door to my house.”

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