PROVO -- A recent DNA test indicates that a newborn found floating in the Provo River in 1992 was likely the offspring of Darcie Jo Baum.
Police believe the baby girl is the first of three babies Baum carried and gave birth to in secret. Baum, who gave birth to four children -- one has survived her -- died in August at her Orem apartment from complications of childbirth.Baum, 26, was arrested after the death of her third child, which was found in a garbage sack and wrapped in a quilt in a park at the mouth of American Fork Canyon. Her fourth child was found dead in August in a toilet about 10 feet from Baum's lifeless body.
An Oct. 19 report by the University of Utah's DNA Diagnostic Laboratory shows a 99.33 percent probability that Baum also was the mother of the baby girl found in the river seven years ago. Tissue samples were studied to draw the conclusions.
Provo Police Capt. Keith Teuscher said that the report closes the investigation into the death of "Baby Jane," who was buried in the Provo Cemetery.
The announcement is the latest chapter in the morbidly fascinating saga that started with Baum's arrest in August 1998 -- and ended with her death.
The child found in the toilet drowned, according to examiners.
No one knew she was pregnant. Her surviving 3-year-old boy who was in the apartment when she died.
At the 26-year-old's death, she was awaiting trial in 4th District Court on charges of desecration of a human body, a third-degree felony.
Those charges stemmed from an August 1998 arrest in which police believe she gave birth to a baby girl and then left the body, wrapped in a garbage sack and wrapped in a quilt, near the mouth of American Fork Canyon.
After her arrest, she admitted to having the baby in the shower and leaving it at the park. She was uncertain if the baby was alive at birth, police said.
Teuscher said he received the DNA results last week. Detectives have since talked to family members about Baum's physical and mental state in February 1992, when the first baby was found. Her family did not know she was pregnant, he said.
"The DNA evidence is the only evidence we have," Teuscher said. "We are happy with that, and we're satisfied in our investigation. You can't get any higher than 99.3 percent."
In the 1998 case, Utah County Attorney C. Kay Bryson hoped to file homicide charges, but the state of decomposition of the baby's body when recovered prevented medical examiners from determining whether the baby was born alive.
As was the case with the baby found in the Provo River in 1992, there was no apparent cause of death, Bryson said.Comment on this story
After her death, police asked for the medical examiner to compare Baum's tissue with the sample kept from the 1992 autopsy.
"It had been a real suspicion after the first baby was found (in 1998)," Bryson said. "When we thought of the psychology -- or mental state -- of the women who could do that to a baby, the odds got slimmer."
Bryson said that, to his knowledge, there aren't other unsolved baby-death cases in Utah County that are being linked to Baum.
"Quite honestly, it is the first time I've seen anything of this kind," said Bryson. "It is a sad tale."