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Mary Catherine Snyder Crumlich, currently living a suburban life in South Carolina with her husband and sons, was sentenced to a year behind bars for manslaughter in the death of her newborn baby, known as “Baby Mary”, whom she left to die in a wooded New Jersey area on Christmas Eve when she was just 17 years old. The baby girl was found by two young boys playing in a stream, and the death was ruled a homicide after a coroner determined that the child had died before being placed in the bag. The baby girl’s identity was unknown, but she was baptized by Rev. Michael Drury at St. Joseph Church, and police held a memorial service for her every Christmas Eve to ensure she was not forgotten.

Years later, in 2014, a DNA profile was established for the child, leading to the reopening of the case by the Morris County Cold Case Unit. Detectives worked with a genealogist to identify families in the area with daughters matching the girl’s racial and ethnic background and age range. After interviewing numerous families and chasing various tips, they found a DNA match in an area man who had died by suicide several years earlier. It was believed that he had no knowledge of being the child’s father, leading investigators to focus on Crumlich, who had since moved to South Carolina.

Crumlich was arrested in April 2020 and charged as a juvenile due to her age at the time of the offense. She began serving a 364-day sentence at Morris County Correctional Facility in April 2021. If she had been convicted as an adult, it would have been on a second-degree manslaughter charge. Law enforcement was unable to refer to her by name until her conviction due to state laws for juvenile defendants. While Crumlich now lives a seemingly normal life, attending her son’s baseball games and weddings, and babysitting her grandchildren, she continues to live with the consequences of her actions every day.

Mendham Township Police Chief Ross Johnson expressed hope that Crumlich finds closure after her prison sentence. He acknowledged the severity of her actions in leaving a newborn baby to die and emphasized the importance of bringing her to justice. Despite the resolution of the case, Johnson stated that he still had more questions than answers and expressed doubt that Crumlich would ever publicly share the full story of what happened on that Christmas Eve decades ago. Despite the tragic circumstances surrounding Baby Mary’s death and the long investigation process, Johnson believes that it is essential to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

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