Goodhue County Sheriff, BCA arrest woman in cold cases for babies found dead in Mississippi River waters

  • In US
  • 2022-05-09 17:18:00Z
  • By Post-Bulletin, Rochester, Minn.

May 9-RED WING - The Goodhue County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension announced Monday, May 9, 2022, that an arrest has been made in the

death of a newborn baby boy who was found deceased in Lake Pepin in 2003


According to the BCA, Jennifer Lynn Matter, 50, of Belvidere Township, was identified through DNA as the child's mother.

The baby boy was discovered deceased on Dec. 7, 2003, in Lake Pepin at the Methodist Campus Beach in Frontenac.

Earlier, another child - a newborn baby girl - was found deceased on Nov. 4, 1999, in the Lower Boat Harbor of the Mississippi River near Red Wing. That child was also determined through DNA to be Matter's child. Matter is not being charged in connection with that death. Authorities did not immediately explain why Matter is being charged in connection with one death and not both.

While exhaustive investigative efforts over the years did not lead to a suspect, a recent effort to learn about the babies' parentage through genetic genealogy resulted in a lead that ultimately led investigators to Matter.

Investigators obtained a court order to obtain a DNA sample from Matter and BCA forensic scientists confirmed the match to both children using Rapid DNA technology.

"The tenacity of several investigators in our office to obtain justice for these babies and the perseverance by our community who assisted us in finding answers have led us here today," Goodhue County Sheriff Marty Kelly said. "We pray today's arrest and charges provide some closure to all of those affected."

Goodhue County deputies and BCA agents took Matter into custody at 6:38 a.m. Monday at her Belvidere Township home without incident.

Matter has been charged via complaint with second degree murder with intent, not premeditated; and second degree murder without intent. Matter is currently in the Goodhue County Jail and scheduled to appear in Goodhue County District Court on Tuesday.

"Genetic genealogy and Rapid DNA testing were both employed to develop a break in the case and then quickly confirm the identity of the babies' mother," BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said. "These kinds of scientific advances that can aid investigations are happening all the time. That is why it is so important to never give up on any unsolved case."


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