Detectives Arrest Suspect 23 Years After Deceased Newborn Found at Lake City Gas Station

DNA evidence has helped SPD detectives identify and arrest a Seattle woman for the death of her newborn son, who was found in the trash can of a Lake City gas station restroom in 1997.

On November 20th, 1997, police were called to a gas station in the 8700 block of Lake City Way Northeast after staff found the deceased newborn inside the restroom.

The King County Medical Examiner determined the child was born alive, and SPD detectives began investigating the case as a homicide.

The 23-year-old case captured headlines at the time as police sought to identify a woman seen on the gas station’s surveillance cameras. While police received leads at the time, they were unable to identify the woman. However, investigators were able to obtain DNA evidence from the scene. This evidence was entered into the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab’s database, but they did not find a match.

In keeping with SPD’s ongoing commitment to unsolved cases, in 2018, SPD detectives began re-investigating the death and obtained information from a public genealogy website and found a woman who was both a possible DNA match and fit the description of the woman seen on the gas station’s surveillance footage. Investigators conducted an undercover operation and obtained the woman’s DNA, which was a match for a sample in the state’s crime lab database.

Investigators interviewed the 50-year-old woman, and, on March 11th, arrested her and booked her into the King County Jail for Investigation of Homicide.