DODGE COUNTY- Thirteen years after deputies with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office found a deceased baby near the Village of Theresa, a sense of closure’s come to the case.
Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt today says the baby’s mother, Karin Luttinen from Milwaukee, is being charged in her death. Luttinen appeared in Dodge County Court today facing charges of concealing the death of a child. An autopsy of the baby found that she likely died during, or just prior to, childbirth.
“I would like to thank all of those who worked diligently in this incident over the past 13 years,” Schmidt said. “They never gave up and pursued absolutely every lead imaginable since Baby Theresa was discovered in 2009.”
On Wednesday, April 29, 2009, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and the Dodge County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to Lone Road in the Town of Theresa and confirmed the death of a newborn baby found abandoned in a garbage bag. Investigators named her ‘Baby Theresa’ to provide her with an identity & naming her near the community closest where she was found.
The full-term, 8# baby girl, appeared healthy. At that time, tests were conducted which were used to determine the cause of death for the baby. Dodge County Medical Examiner PJ Schoebel conducted his investigation of the incident and ordered an autopsy which was performed on April 30, 2009. The medical examination did not reveal evidence that supported the contention or charge that the child was murdered. The pathologist concluded that the incident was a “fetal demise” indicating that the child may have died prior to, or during birth.
Sheriff Schmidt says his deputies were unable to identify the family members of Baby Theresa and she was eventually laid to rest at the Lowell Cemetery in southwest Dodge County on May 11th, 2009.
In 2014, the sheriff’s office worked with the district attorney to file a charge against the then-unknown mother’s DNA profile to prevent the six-year statute of limitations for the charges to run, thus allowing for any prosecution now, 13 years later. In 2021, the mother was identified as Karin Luttinen from Milwaukee.