Jennifer Lynn Matter: Minnesota woman sentenced to 27 years in prison for 2003 murder of infant son
RED WING, MINNESOTA: Jennifer Matter, a Minnesota woman who admitted to abandoning her infant boy to die by the Mississippi River in 2003, has been sentenced to 27 years in prison for second-degree murder.
The case had gone cold, but a breakthrough was achieved in 2021 when investigators tracked down the infant's father through DNA testing. Prior to the boy's discovery, boaters had found a baby girl earlier in Lake Pepin. Jennifer, 50, was not arrested until 2022. She hails from Belvidere Township outside Red Wing.
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How was she tracked by DNA and finally charged in 2022
According to the Post Bulletin, investigators obtained a court order to obtain a DNA sample from Jennifer Matter, and forensic scientists from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension confirmed that she was the mother of two abandoned infants using Rapid DNA technology. Both infants, a boy found dead by the Mississippi River in 2003 and a girl found earlier in Lake Pepin, were linked to Matter.
Jennifer Matter pleaded guilty to abandoning her newborn son on a Minnesota beach in January, according to Law and Crime. In her plea agreement, she admitted to leaving the baby on the beach and driving away with no intention of returning. The baby boy was found dead on December 7, 2003, at the Methodist Campus Beach in Frontenac. Matter was also linked to the death of a baby girl found in Lake Pepin on November 4, 1999.
A total of three infants were found over the years while two have been linked to Matter
According to one report, the autopsy of the boy stated, "The infant was a full-term newborn male infant who was probably born alive." The report also noted, "Additional findings noted blunt force head injuries, possibly due to the birth process." The autopsy of the girl infant described her as "a well-developed term female with no congenital abnormalities or obvious injuries." Both cases were classified as homicide by the Coroner, and investigators named the infants "Cory" and "Jamie." A third girl infant was discovered in 2007 on Marina Slip near Redwing by two workers at Treasure Island Resort and Casino. The investigation into this matter is ongoing, according to a report.
Before denying even being pregnant, Matter opened up to investigators
In an April 2022 interview with Law Enforcement, Matter denied having any knowledge of the 1999 infant, stating, "I don't know anything about that. I wasn't even pregnant at that time." She also refused to provide a DNA sample voluntarily. However, in a subsequent interview in May, after her DNA profile was compared, she told investigators, "I was in a bad state. I was in and out of jail, drinking too much, doing a lot of stupid things."
According to court documents, Matter claimed that when she started bleeding, she was en route to drop off her children, ages two and five, at school and daycare and had no idea that she was pregnant. After leaving Red Wing, she went back to her house and gave birth there. She claimed the infant was born "bluish, unresponsive, and unresponsive, so she freaked out." She then placed the baby in a towel. After estimating that a day had passed, as she was drinking heavily, she drove to Bay Point Park in the middle of the night, put the baby in the water near the boathouse, and walked off.
The boy was breathing
According to the complaint, Matter admitted that the boy was born alive. She stated that she felt it "moving a little bit while it was inside of her stomach." Regarding the girl, Matter said that "she did not remember if she wrapped the second baby up in a towel or a blanket." She also mentioned that it was dark outside, cold and that she did not look to see the gender of the child. Matter remembered leaving the baby on the beach before driving away. She said the baby was breathing fine and may have been crying, but "she didn't remember it." Matter did not call 911 but hoped that someone in the nearby houses would find the baby.