Deborah O’Connor

On February 20, 2020, police arrested Deborah Riddle O’Connor and charged her with first-degree murder in the death of her infant son.

The remains of Baby Michael were found on March 3, 1999 in Cumberland County, North Carolina. The infant was placed in a trash bag and thrown out of a moving vehicle. The baby was found by a soldier driving by Canady Pond Road. An autopsy determined that Baby Michael had been born alive and was killed by blunt force trauma. He likely died within the first 24-hours of his life.

The DNA profile was developed from the mother’s placenta, which was still attached to Baby Michael. The FGG investigation was conducted by Melinde Lutz Byrne of Bode Technologies.

O’Connor’s family states that she suffers from a mental illness. She admitted to investigators that she is the baby’s mother. At the time of the murder, she lived a few miles away from where body was found.

On August 10, 2021, O’Connor pled guilty to second-degree murder in Cumberland County Court. She was sentenced to 12 years in prison, with credit for time served awaiting sentencing.


ABC News 11. “‘We Never Gave Up’: Sheriff’s Office Arrests Mother in 1999 Death of ‘Baby Michael’ in Cumberland County.” ABC News 11, February 21, 2020. Accessed December 29, 2020.

Barnes, Greg. “Unravelling the Life of ‘Baby Michael’s Mother.” Fayetteville Observer, February 29, 2020. Accessed August 23, 2021.

Boden, Jack. “‘Incredibly Sad Story’: Mother of ‘Baby Michael,’ Found Dead in Trash Bag, Pleads Guilty.” Fayetteville Observer, August 11, 2021. Accessed December 12, 2022.

Casey, J. “Update: DNA Trace Leads to Arrest of Burke Woman in 1999 Cold Case.” The McDowell News, February 21, 2020. Accessed December 29, 2020.

Craft, Andrew. “Unraveling the Life of ‘Baby Michael’s’ Mother.” Fayetteville Observer, February 29, 2020. Accessed December 29, 2020.

Goldner, Brandon, and Associated Press. “Mother Charged in 1999 Slaying of Baby, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office Says.” WCNC Charlotte, February 21, 2020, last modified February 22, 2020. Accessed December 29, 2020.


First Name Deborah
Last Name O'Connor
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started nd
Case Cleared 2020-02-20
IGG Org Bode


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1339 n/a Baby Michael NB 1999-03-03 Cumberland CO, NC Cumberland CSO Second degree murder Guilty plea entered by defendant Cumberland CO SUP CT

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.