WHEATON, Ill. (CBS) — Baby Hope was abandoned in a backpack on the side of the road in Wheaton nearly three years ago, and on Monday, charges were filed.
But in a curious development, it is now only a DNA profile facing charges rather than a named person.
On Aug. 15, 2016, landscapers working in unincorporated DuPage County near Wheaton found a black backpack lying in a private driveway off Plamondon Road.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, with the three-year anniversary of Baby Hope’s death comes a three-year statute of limitations to bring charges. The DuPage County Sheriff’s department said securing an indictment on a DNA profile is rare, but it could lead to charges down the line.
“To leave a living lasting legacy to Baby Hope, we have a plaque that is a memorial to her,” said Susan Walker.
This tree and plaque planted in a Wheaton park were put in place by Walker’s organization, Rest in His Arms, which gives more than 40 illegally-abandoned babies a proper burial.
“How could somebody do this?” Walker said. “She was found in a backpack she was left to die.”
Baby Hope was found in the backpack with a brown bathmat and toilet seat cover wrapped around her.
“We’ve had numerous leads – well over 100 leads,” said Detective Danny Dorpat of the DuPage County Sheriff’s office.
There is now an indictment for “Jane Doe,” the unknown female DNA profile. She faces charges of failure to report the death or disappearance of a child – a Class 4 felony.
“We did this as a way to stop the statute clock, and also as a way show that we are still working this case,” Dorpat said.
DNA profiles were made of what the baby’s mom and dad could look like at 15 years old and 25.
Pollen tested from the backpack tells investigators that it traveled through the southwest part of the country before landing in the brush.
“It did not need to happen,” Walker said. “This never needs to happen.”
Even on Baby Hope’s grave, there is a plaque asking for tips – information that could bring closure and truly allow her to rest.
Through the Safe Haven Law, unwanted newborns can be dropped off at any firehouse, police station, or hospital no questions asked.
Anyone with information about Baby Hope should call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-843-5678.