A Mississippi couple has been arrested more than 30 years after their newborn daughter was found dead in a Mississippi dumpster.
Inga Johansen Carriere and Andrew Carriere II, both 50, were both charged with first-degree murder in the cold case of the death of the unnamed child, whose headstone reads “Heaven’s Angel.”
Advances in DNA technology helped police identify the couple, who lived in Louisiana, as suspects decades after the baby’s body was found. Police in Picayune, Mississippi announced the arrests on March 9.
The case dates back to April 1992, when a farmer found a “fully developed newborn” girl wrapped in a towel stuffed into trash bags behind what is now a defunct pizza restaurant in Picayune, near the Louisiana border, police said .
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An autopsy showed the baby was “probably” born that morning, about three weeks premature, and “lived a few minutes before being suffocated,” police said.
The state coroner ruled the case a homicide, and the local police department kept the collected evidence and crime scene photos for decades after the case closed.
The case reopened in 2021 and included a multi-state investigation with a series of events unfolding over the past two years, culminating in the arrests of the Carrieres in late February and early March, according to the police.
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Paul Fleming, public defender for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana since the mid-1990s, represents Inga Johansen.
He told Fox News Digital that his understanding, through their preliminary investigation, is that the baby was “stillborn,” meaning he’s not considered an infant or child, so the crime of murder can’t happen since legally “it’s not a person”.
He said they will have to wait for the autopsy report, which will not be released to the defense until after an indictment and which can take months. So you want an independent pathologist to remove the report.
“We’ve only seen a couple of cases that old, but not that many,” Fleming said. “DNA wasn’t as prevalent in the 1990s. It was around, but it was a new science. It wasn’t done on a regular basis and it took weeks to come back with the results…The age of the case will be problematic to pursue and difficult to defend”.
After the Picayune police reopened the case, investigators traced the child’s burial site to the Salem community using tips from retired officers.
“We have been informed that a local church has donated land and its members have raised money for a headstone,” Picayune police said in a statement. “In May 2021, a headstone was found in Lee’s Chapel Baptist Church… with the headstone (which) read ‘Heavens Angel’ April 15, 1992 – April 15, 1992,” which was confirmed by the coroner.
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Using the latest advances in DNA technology, which has led to a recent boom in clearances of cold cases, law enforcement identified the pair as potential suspects.
The Carrieres were living in Louisiana as of August 2021, so the Louisiana State Police joined the investigation and obtained DNA samples.
“Through investigative means, investigators were able to identify the boy’s parents as 50-year-old Andrew Carriere and 50-year-old Inga Johansen Carriere, who were living in Louisiana at the time of the deaths,” Louisiana State Police said in a statement. a press release.
Arrest warrants were issued for the couple in Louisiana, and Inga Johansen was arrested on February 28 at her home in Avondale, Louisiana, and Andrew was arrested in Galliano, Louisiana on March 9.
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Both are being held at Jefferson Parish Correctional Facility without bond after being extradited from Mississippi, according to prison records.
Fleming did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.