Milwaukee ID’d woman mother of ‘Baby Theresa,’ arrested 13 years after infant was found dead in the woods

JUNEAU, Wis. (CBS 58) – Dodge County investigators found the mother of an abandoned infant nearly 13 years after the baby was found dead in a wooded area near Theresa Village, according to Van. Dodge County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Dale Schmidt identified the mother as Karin Luttinen, a Milwaukee woman. She was accused of concealing the death of a child.

Investigators identified the baby as “Baby Theresa”, named after Theresa Village.

“To this day, the community is wondering if her family has been identified,” said Schmidt. “Today we can provide information on the closure.”

The family tree DNA results told detectives that Baby Theresa was related to the Luttinen surname, according to the criminal complaint.

“They used a (system), similar to Ancestry, that gave us a family tree for Baby Theresa,” said Dodge County Medical Examiner PJ Schoebel.

When law enforcement asked Luttinen to take a DNA test, she denied ever being pregnant. Results later confirmed that baby Theresa was her child, according to the criminal complaint.

The criminal complaint alleges that Luttinen told detectives she was never aware of the fact that she was pregnant. She delivered the baby herself in the bathtub at her Shorewood home.

She went on to describe that she fainted after giving birth, but recalled seeing the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck.

Luttinen drove to the woods, where she left the baby in a trash bag. She drove home and pretended like nothing had happened, according to the criminal complaint.

Schmidt called DNA and genealogy a huge boon to their investigation.

“As we approach these more serious cases, they will certainly play some role in those investigations,” said Schmidt.

Luttinen told detectives that the wooded area was used as a resting place for her children, according to the criminal complaint.

The community got together for Baby Theresa’s funeral in 2009.

“Certainly, a lot of different emotions will be felt by the community here with this event, but at the end of the day, we’re done,” Schmidt said.

The criminal complaint concealed the father’s identity. Luttinen insists neither he nor anyone else knew she was pregnant and giving birth.

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