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Crime News Breaking News

Genetic Genealogy Leads To Teen's Arrest After Newborn's Body Found In Cooler On Side Of Road

As a result of sending DNA from the dead newborn to a genetic genealogy lab, officials now believe they have enough evidence to charge Caroline Riley Propes with murder.

By Gina Tron
How To Use DNA To Crack A Case

A teen has been arrested and charged with murder after DNA allegedly connected her to a newborn’s body found discarded in a cooler on the side of a remote road in Georgia over a year ago.

A cooler containing a dead newborn child was discovered on the side of a road in Troup County on Jan. 6, 2019, Sheriff James Woodruff of the Troup County Sheriff's Office stated in a Friday press release. The zipped cooler, which was covered in a colorful watermelon print fabric, may have been sitting at the location for at least a week, WSB-TV in Atlanta reports.

The baby’s exact manner of death has not yet been determined, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Woodruff said that investigators submitted a sample of the baby's DNA to a private DNA analysis laboratory in Oklahoma before results were sent to a lab in Virginia for investigative genetic genealogy research. That research led officials to believe that the biological mother of the abandoned newborn is Caroline Riley Propes, 19, of Newnan, the press release states.

Caroline Propes Pd

Propes was arrested Thursday and charged with second-degree murder.

“From the moment this case was opened, I and my team of investigators were determined to bring this case to a conclusion,” Woodruff declared in his statement. “I cannot thank them enough for their determination to close a case that touched many people.”

It’s not clear if Propes has an attorney who can speak on her behalf.

The sheriff’s department reminded people back in January, during the anniversary of the grim discovery, that the Safe Place for Newborn Act allows people to leave their newborn at their department with minimal questions asked.