BABY CHRISTIAN FAYETTE COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA 2004
Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Shirley of Jefferson County took up the reins on a cold case very important to his department. His predecessor, Sheriff Everett “Ed” Boober, had hoped to make an arrest in the case before he left office, but the case remains unsolved.
Although West Virginia is one several states with SAFE Haven laws, which allow parents to drop off their unwanted baby at a hospital or health facility within 30 days of the child’s birth, the mother of the child who has been christened “Baby Christian” by police did not take advantage of that resource.
The newborn baby, estimated between 8 and 9 pounds, was found by a Harpers Ferry National Historical Park ranger at 2:48 p.m. March 21, 2004. The autopsy report showed that he was alive when put inside a garbage bag with three 5-pound weights on the bank of the Shenandoah River near the U.S. 340 bridge in Harpers Ferry, WV. The report found that the baby had been born alive and died from injuries sustained in the fall. The child’s body was believed to have been lying along the river bank for one to three months before it was found.
Baby Christian is estimated to have been born between December 2003 and February 2004. Remember that he was a large child, 8-9 pounds, and it is likely that the mother would have been noticed by someone to have been pregnant.
Baby Christian was wrapped in a pink sheet, then a white sheet, placed into a plastic trash bag which was tied closed and placed inside another trash bag, tied shut and tossed off the bridge landing about 20 feet away from the water’s edge.
The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park ranger thought the bag, which was found on the Harpers Ferry side of the river, probably contained garbage. He opened it, believing it too heavy for simple garbage and the shocked ranger found the baby with the umbilical cord still attached.
Many leads were received from the public and DNA was obtained, although no matches have been found so far. Baby Christian was buried on April 3, 2004, with services held by the community and police. Eackles-Spencer Funeral Home donated its services. He was laid to rest at Edge Hill Cemetery in Charles Town, which donated a burial plot for the child.
Anyone with any information about the case or who previously contacted investigators about the case is asked to contact Detective Tracy Harrison with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department at 304-728-3205.