Jennifer Lynn Matter Bio – Jennifer Lynn Matter Wiki

A Minnesota woman is under arrest for allegedly murdering a newborn found 19 years ago along a reservoir of the Mississippi River –– and authorities say she’s also the mother of a second dead newborn pulled from the river four years earlier.


Jennifer Lynn Matter is 50 years old.


DNA finally linked the woman, Jennifer Lynn Matter, 50, of Red Wing, to the mystery of the unknown victims last week, authorities announced Monday.

“The tenacity of several investigators in our office to obtain justice for these babies and the perseverance by our community who assisted us in finding answers has led us here today,” Goodhue County Sheriff Marty Kelly said. “We pray today’s arrest and charges provide some closure to all of those affected.”

The criminal charges are connected to a male newborn discovered dead along the beach of the reservoir known as Lake Pepin, in Frontenac, Minn., on Dec. 7, 2003. An autopsy determined the infant “was a full-term newborn male infant who was probably born alive,” and listed the manner of death as a homicide, according to a criminal complaint.

Four years earlier, on Nov. 4, 1999, a witness had discovered a deceased infant wrapped in a white towel floating near a small boat harbor on the river in Red Wing. The umbilical cord appeared to still be attached to the female child; again, the autopsy determined the manner of death as a homicide.

But both mysteries went cold until September 2020, when a detective newly assigned to the case plugged information from the two infants’ DNA into public genealogy databases, which pointed toward two persons of interest who could be related to the 1999 infant.

Through DNA samples, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Crime Lab was able to identify the biological father –– and from there, according to authorities, officers found Matter.

When questioned, Matter initially denied being the mother or even being pregnant in 1999. But she declined to give a DNA sample, until a search warrant compelled her to do so on May 2.

When confronted May 5 with findings that concluded “the genetic results obtained from the unidentified male infant are 8.3 million times more likely to occur in a biological child of Jennifer Lynn Matter than in someone unrelated,” Matter opened up about her life in 1999.

She said “she was in a bad mental state … [and] that she was in and out of jail, drinking too much, doing a lot of stupid things, and had experienced chaotic life circumstances for a long time,” according to the criminal complaint. She told officers she didn’t know she was pregnant when she began to bleed, and that after dropping her two other children off at school and daycare, she went home and gave birth in the bathroom.

“Matter stated that the baby was born blue, was not breathing, and was not crying so she freaked out,” the complaint reads. “Matter stated that she knows that she should have gotten help but that her mind was not there. Matter stated that she was scared and wrapped the baby in a towel while trying to figure out what to do. Matter estimated about one day passed but was not sure as she was drinking heavily. She stated that she never told anyone what happened. Matter stated that she drove the baby to Bay Point Parkin the middle of the night, put her in the water near the boathouses, and walked away.”

In the case of the 2003 infant, Matter said she was alone at a public beach when she went into labor, and left the breathing newborn on the beach without calling 911 “but hoped that someone in the nearby houses would find the baby,” the complaint states.

Although Matter is only charged in the latter case, Goodhue County Attorney Steve O’Keefe said he is still weighing whether to charge her in the earlier death of the child who Matter claimed was born “blue,” reports Minnesota Public Radio.

“Genetic genealogy and Rapid DNA testing were both employed to develop a break in the case and then ​quickly confirm the identity of the babies’ mother,” said Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Drew Evans. “These kinds of scientific advances that can aid investigations are happening all the time. That is why it is so important to never give up on any unsolved case.”

The criminal complaint accuses Matter of second-degree murder with Intent not premeditated, and second-degree murder without intent. She is currently being held at the Goodhue County jail without bond. Online jail records did not list an attorney who might be able to comment on her behalf.


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