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Morris County Law Enforcement Announces Disposition in 1984 Cold Case Homicide of “Baby Mary”

COUNTY OF MORRIS

Office of Communications & Digital Media


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PRESS RELEASE:                                                                                                   

April 11, 2024

For Immediate Release

 

Morris County Law Enforcement Announces Disposition in 1984 Cold Case Homicide of “Baby Mary”

Infant’s Mother Charged and Given Probation on One Count of Manslaughter


South Carolina resident Mary Catherine Crumlich has been adjudicated delinquent in connection with the 1984 “Baby Mary” case, which involved the death of an infant girl who was found abandoned in Mendham Township 40 years ago, according to Morris County law enforcement officials.


Morris County Prosecutors giving a press conference

On April 3, Crumlich was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Michael P. Wright, in Morristown to probation conditioned upon 364 days’ imprisonment at the Morris County Correctional Facility. She was prosecuted as a minor because she was 17 years old at the time of the infant was abandoned in Mendham Township.


“This disposition has been years in the making, across generations of law enforcement who have demonstrated a relentless commitment to justice for Baby Mary,” said Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll. “This nearly 40-year-old case was solved through new forensic DNA technology and traditional boots-on-the-ground police work in multiple states. I recognize the exhaustive efforts that went into this investigation on the part of members of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and the Mendham Township Police Department.”

On Christmas Eve 1984, at approximately 10:35 am, two boys reported a deceased newborn baby girl in a remote wooded area off Mt. Pleasant Road in Mendham Township. Law enforcement officers located a baby girl’s body wrapped in a towel inside a plastic bag. At the time of her discovery, the infant’s umbilical cord was still attached. The Medical Examiner determined she had been alive at the time of her birth, and the death was ruled a homicide.


The unidentified baby was baptized by Mendham Township Police Department’s chaplain, Reverend Michael Drury, who named her Mary, and she is interred at St. Joseph’s Church in Mendham Township.


The case became a cause celeb and Morris County authorities continued to probe for clues over the past 40 years, leading them last year to 57-year-old Crumlich, whose last name was Snyder in 1984. She was charged with one count of manslaughter on April 24, 2023, by way of a juvenile delinquency complaint, and at the time of her arrest, law enforcement did not identify her by name, in accordance with the New Jersey Code of Juvenile Justice.

In February, she pleaded guilty to manslaughter, a second-degree crime if committed by an adult.


“I would like to recognize the work of the Morris County Cold Case Unit, as well as members of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division (CSI) Section and Crime Lab Section, who contributed to the solution,” said Morris County Sheriff James Gannon. “These groups worked with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and the Mendham Township Police Department to bring justice for Baby Mary and the community by closing this decades-old case.”


“I am pleased we can finally conclude this case appropriately and bring closure for all those involved in its investigation over the decades, our community, and those who have been directly impacted by it,” said Mendham Township Police Chief Ross Johnson. “I’m proud we can ultimately bring justice to a baby girl, needlessly abandoned in the woods on a cold winter night.”


The 40-year investigation determined that Baby Mary’s father passed away prior to being identified by authorities, and there is no evidence he was aware of the infant’s birth or death.

The cooperation and hard work from multiple agencies on the case did not go unnoticed, as Prosecutor Carroll, Sheriff Gannon and Chief Johnson each thanked many law enforcement partners at various levels for their contributions to solving the case, including the FBI and multiple agencies from Florida and South Carolina.


“As I have said previously, justice may not take the form the public has envisioned, but we hope that with this disposition that the Mendham and Morris County community is given a sense of closure,” said Carroll.


A video of the full September 2023 press conference is available on the Morris County Government YouTube channel.


Media inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to mknab@co.morris.nj.us.

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