Karen Kuzmak Roche was identified on January 14, 2020, as the lead suspect in the infanticide of a newborn infant. The remains of David Paul were found on January 2, 1988, underneath a tree in a parking lot in Meriden, Connecticut. Roche had left the infant there on December 28, 1987. She had phoned the South Meriden Fire Department and told them that they would find ‘something’ in the parking lot. Firefighters went to the parking lot that day but did not find anything. The infant had been wrapped in a blanket, and he died of exposure and hypothermia. The Meriden Police Department named him David Paul. They hold a ceremony each year to honour his memory.
The FGG investigation was undertaken by Colleen Fitzpatrick of Identifinders. The sample source was reported to be Roche’s blood, which was found on the blanket in which the infant was wrapped. She had begun some work on the case in 2011, and identified a possible last name, but did not receive a breakthrough until 2019 when autosomal DNA testing revealed second/third cousin matches in GEDmatch and FTDNA. Fitzpatrick has stated that this was an early test case to assess the potential for autosomal SNP testing and genealogy to identify an unknown individual using DNA.
Police identified the infant’s mother as Karen Kuzmak Roche, who was 25 years old when David Paul was born. She admitted to police that she delivered the baby herself, and then abandoned him at the foot of a tree. Zymaris reports that, “Ms. Roche indicated she had been waiting 32 years for the day in which police would be knocking on the door regarding this incident,” said Chief Jeffrey Cossette, Meriden Police Department.”
Manslaughter charges have a statute of limitations in Connecticut of 20 years, and so police do not think that charges will be laid in this case. Safe Haven laws in Connecticut were introduced in the year 2000.
Altimari, Dave, and Steven Goode. “Meriden Police Identify Mother of Newborn Left to Freeze to Death 32 Years Ago.” Hartford Courant, January 14, 2020. Accessed November 13, 2021. https://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-news-meriden-dead-babies-mother-20200114-nptop2nyiffgrnrezbcntt3x2e-story.html.
NBC Connecticut. “How DNA Helped Meriden Police Solve a 32-Year-Old Cold Case.” NBC Connecticut, January 14, 2020. Accessed November 13, 2021. https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/meriden-police-to-provide-update-on-32-year-old-investigation-into-death-of-infant/2209179/.
Zymaris, Eva, and Rob Polansky. “Mother Identified in Meriden’s 32-Year-Old ‘David Paul’ Case.” WFSB Eyewitness News 3, January 14, 2020. Accessed November 13, 2021. https://www.wfsb.com/news/mother-identified-in-meridens-32-year-old-david-paul-case/article_0d85c176-36c2-11ea-b757-2f2a2d8c3235.html.