"He knew nothing about this baby."
Police have said that a newborn baby found dead in the ocean off the coast of Florida in 2018 was killed by her mother, who has now been arrested.
The mysterious case of ‘Baby June’ – who police have said was “discarded like a piece of trash” – had gone cold, with no fruitful leads. The infant has never been identified.
On December 15, 2022, the baby’s mother was arrested using the same genetic genealogy technique that found the ‘Golden State Killer’ in California, who pled guilty in 2020 to multiple murders in the 1970s and 80s.
The technology allowed investigators to identify the girl’s father, who in turn led them to his ex-girlfriend, 29-year-old Arya Singh.
Palm Beach County Special Investigations Unit Captain Steven Strivelli said:
“It was four years ago that I stood in front of these same cameras and asked for the public’s support in trying to figure out what happened and who this unidentified child was.
“I’m very, very happy to announce that today, we have all those questions answered.”
On June 1, 2018, the infant’s body was spotted floating in the water by an off-duty firefighter. At the time, police said the firefighter initially mistook the girl for a doll.
Having been found, the girl was dubbed ‘Baby June’ and investigators released an artist’s rendition of how the baby might have looked at birth.
A $10,000 reward was offered for information but none of the tips were helpful.
Meanwhile, investigators searched records of every child born in Palm Beach and Broward counties but were unable to find any information to help the case.
Eventually, Strivelli said the case was handed to the cold case squad.
He said: “We were starting to look like we were heading towards a dead end.”
However, the crime lab and cold case team were able to eventually identify the father of the baby girl through a DNA match.
Julie Sikorsky, supervisor of the office’s forensic biology unit, said the Sheriff’s office uploaded the newborn’s DNA onto a public database and was able to find a close relative.
She said: “We rebuilt the family tree and identified the close relatives, and then established the link to our suspect today.”
A likely father of the newborn was found and he was confirmed to be using DNA testing.
The father said he had a girlfriend at the time. She told him she was pregnant but that she had “taken care of it”.
Detective Brittany Christoffel of Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said:
“He knew nothing about this baby. He was thinking she perhaps had an abortion.”
Detectives covertly obtained a DNA sample of the father’s former girlfriend and used it to confirm that she was the newborn’s mother.
Arya Singh had been at the Boynton Beach Inlet on May 30, 2018 – 48 hours before the baby was found in the water nearby.
They also found that the mother had searched for and read news articles about the baby’s discovery but never came forward.
The baby was already dead when she went into the inlet.
Singh told investigators she did not know she was pregnant until she gave birth on May 30 and that she was not sure if the baby was dead or alive at the time.
Investigators interviewed Singh as well as several of her friends and family members and determined that the mother was “solely responsible for the baby ending up in the Boynton Beach Inlet”.
Singh has been charged with first-degree murder.
This cold case was the first time it had used genetic genealogy in Florida.
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said:
“It’s a whole new world as far as technology is concerned.
“We had a lot of people at the beginning say, ‘You got nothing, you’ll be lucky if you ever find anybody in this’.”
Bradshaw praised his officers, saying that while they are tough, this particular case had taken an emotional toll on them all.
He said: “The men and women of law enforcement always think they are tough and they have seen it all but I guarantee you when you see a newborn infant floating in the ocean like somebody had discarded like a piece of trash, it tugs at your heart.”