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Woman to stand trial for 1997 death of "Baby Garnet" in Michigan

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(CBS DETROIT) - A woman will stand trial in the 1997 death of her newborn daughter in Michigan, the Attorney General's office announced on Tuesday.

Nancy Gerwatowski, 60, formerly of Newberry, is charged with one count of open murder, involuntary manslaughter and concealing the death of an individual.

The infant, known as "Baby Garnet," was found in June 1997 in an outhouse at the Garnet Lake Campground in Hudson Township.

State prosecutors allege Gerwatowski concealed her infant daughter's remains after she died from asphyxiation, which officials said was preventable. At the time, Gerwatowski had just given birth to the child in her Newberry home.

An autopsy determined the baby was near the gestational age of 36 to 42 weeks.

Authorities were unable to find witnesses or leads during the initial investigation. Michigan State Police, with the help of private labs and the FBI, reopened the case in 2017, and in 2022, a newly-created DNA profile of the infant led to Gerwatowski.

At the time, Gerwatowski was living in Pinedale, Wyoming. Further testing of her DNA confirmed she was the infant's mother.

"Thanks to the incredible efforts of investigators across three decades, we are finally able to pursue justice for Baby Garnet more than 25 years after her tragic death," said Attorney General Dana Nessel in a statement. "In 1997, genetics testing was nowhere near as sophisticated as it is today, and I am grateful for the work of detectives and responders on-scene to preserve vital evidence in this matter. Prosecutors in my office are able to bring about this long-delayed criminal trial because of twenty-seven years of sound police work, scientific advancement, evidence preservation, and diligent state and local detectives who never gave up on justice for this infant victim." 

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