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Nearly 14 years after newborn found dead in trash bin, woman arrested

Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 7:55 AM CDT
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LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (Gray News) - A woman has been arrested for the death of a newborn almost 14 years after the infant was found dead in a YMCA trash receptacle.

DNA sleuthing and genealogical research eventually led to the suspect, the Lancaster County District Attorney said in a news release.

Tara Brazzle, 44, was arrested and charged in connection with the death of a newborn in 2007.
Tara Brazzle, 44, was arrested and charged in connection with the death of a newborn in 2007.(Source: Lancaster County DA)

Tara Brazzle, 44, was arrested at the San Jose International Airport in California and charged Friday in connection with the death of the newborn, called Baby Mary Anne, who was found in September 2007.

Brazzle, who currently lives in Valparaiso, Ind., admitted to giving birth to the girl and lived in Lancaster County at the time, where she worked at the YMCA, investigators said.

Brazzle said she knew she was pregnant but failed to seek any prenatal care and didn’t provide medical care to the baby after giving birth. She said she placed the baby in the trash bin behind the YMCA several days after the baby’s birth, where the baby was found by other YMCA employees.

The Lancaster County Coroner’s Office ruled the death a homicide due to complications of asphyxia.

Despite efforts to find the woman who gave birth, the case grew cold.

New DNA advances helped the investigation, said Sgt. Randell Zook, who took over the case in 2016.

Zook was able to eventually track down Brazzle with the help of genetic analysis from Parabon NanoLabs, as well as police databases and genealogical resources.

When Zook uploaded the newborn’s DNA into a public genetic genealogy database in 2018, he found the closest relation to the victim was a second cousin. He used the information at his disposal to “essentially build a reverse family tree” that led him to the suspect.

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