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Woman pleads guilty to manslaughter decades after a dog found her newborn’s body in Maine gravel pit

By Zenebou Sylla and Zoe Sottile, CNN

A Massachusetts woman pleaded guilty on Thursday to manslaughter in the death of her newborn, whose body was discovered by a dog in a gravel pit nearly 40 years ago in Maine, according to the Office of the Maine Attorney General.

Lee Ann Daigle, 59, of Lowell, was arrested in June last year and charged with one count of murder, according to Maine State Police.

Baby Jane Doe was found dead in Frenchville, Maine, on December 7, 1985. A Husky found the baby and carried her back to his owner’s home, around 700 feet from where the newborn’s body was discovered. State detectives were able to track the dog’s path to the location where Baby Jane Doe was born, and later abandoned, in below-zero temperatures at the gravel pit, police said.

The dead baby was found unclothed and partially frozen with part of her umbilical cord still attached, said Danna Hayes, a special agent to the Office of the Maine Attorney General.

Advances in DNA technology used by law enforcement helped break the cold case open, police said. Genetic genealogy information generated investigative leads that helped Maine State Police identify Daigle, formerly known as Lee Ann Guerette, as the baby’s biological mother, said Shannon Moss, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

While both parents were found alive, only Daigle was charged, Hayes told CNN.

Daigle was released on bail from Aroostook County in August 2022, according to court documents. Her sentencing is scheduled for June 20. CNN attempted to contact a lawyer for Daigle and did not receive an immediate response.

In 2015, a “Safe Haven” law went into effect in Maine. The law allows parents to surrender babies less than 31 days old to Safe Haven providers, which include law enforcement officers, emergency room staff, medical providers, and hospital staff. The law protects the confidentiality of the parent relinquishing a baby and stipulates that providers cannot attempt to detain the parent.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Amir Vera and Melissa Alonso contributed to this report.

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