Minnesota woman pleads guilty to leaving newborn to die

January 26, 2023

RED WING, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota woman admitted in a guilty plea Wednesday that she left her newborn baby boy to die on the banks of the Mississippi River in 2003.

Fifty year-old Jennifer Matter pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the baby’s death. She will be sentenced April 28.

Matter was arrested May 10, 2022, at her home in Belvidere Township outside Red Wing.

Prosecutors have said DNA evidence also links Matter to a baby girl found dead by the Mississippi in 1999. Matter has not been charged in that case.

Teenagers found the baby boy’s body Dec. 7, 2003, in Frontenac on the shore of Lake Pepin, a body of water on the Mississippi River.

A coroner determined the baby’s death was a homicide, but his cause of death was undetermined.

“I left (the baby) on the beach, walked away, got into my car, and drove away with no intention of returning,” Matter said in the plea agreement.

According to the criminal complaint, Matter said she hoped someone who lived nearby would find him alive.

Investigators said DNA samples tied both infants to Matter by a genealogy search that led to potential relatives in Goodhue County.