Erie woman arrested in 1996 death of newborn ‘Baby Faith’

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LOVELAND, Colo. -- A woman arrested Tuesday, charged with murder in the 1996 "Baby Faith" homicide case, the Larimer County Sheriff's Office said.

Jennifer Katalinich, 42, of Erie surrendered to sheriff's officials early Tuesday morning on charges of first-degree and second-degree murder.

Katalinich made a court appearance on Tuesday morning, posted a $25,000 cash bond and has been released. She is due back in court on Jan. 21.

"Baby Faith" was an unidentified newborn whose body was found by two 11-year-old boys on the shores of Horsetooth Reservoir west of Fort Collins on Aug. 24, 1996.

An autopsy found the child suffocated after being wrapped in a plastic trash bag and her death was ruled a homicide.

Several leads over the years were exhausted and the case was declared cold.

In August 2006, on the 10th anniversary of the girl's death, the case was reopened in hopes advances in DNA technology could produce new leads. However, no new information surfaced.

In November 2016, DNA evidence was resubmitted to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for updated analysis.

On July 17, the CBI determined five individuals had the probability of being related to "Baby Faith." Four of the five were most probable to have information in the case, the sheriff's office said.

On Oct. 6, investigators interviewed three people in Minnesota and each was excluded as a suspect.

Investigators then traveled to Maryland and met with the fourth person, and determined Katalinich could have information. The sheriff's office did not say what that information was.

Katalinich was interviewed by investigators on Oct. 18 and the case was given to the Larimer County District Attorney's Office.

On Friday, a murder warrant was issued for Katalinich. She surrendered Tuesday.

Katalinich was 18 at the time and was listed as living in a dorm at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

"This case serves as a great reminder that (the sheriff's office) is determined to solve all cases despite the amount of time that passes after the commission of the crime," Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said.

"If often takes just one citizen to come forward with information to spark new life into a cold case."

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