Provo Police solve 7-year-old murder mystery

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    By CORRINNA BONET

    Provo Police said it can finally close the book on a mystery that has lingered for more than seven years.

    It was just more than seven years ago that the body of a baby girl was found in the Provo River.

    On Feb. 22, 1992 Provo Police responded to a citizen’s report, and found the body of an infant at the approximate location of 5000 N. 300 West in the Provo river.

    Because of the condition of the body, the autopsy was inconclusive as to the cause of death and the length of time that the body had been in the river.

    The body of “Baby Jane,” as she was referred to by officers investigating the case, was buried in the Provo Cemetery on Mar. 9, 1992 without a single lead or clue as to who were the parents of the girl and how she ended up in the river.

    Until August of this year, officials hadn’t received any leads in the case, said Provo Police Capt. Keith Teuscher.

    But on Aug. 24, 1999, the case took a turn toward resolution when Orem police officers responded to the residence of Darcie Jo Baum after receiving a call from one of her neighbors.

    When they arrived, they discovered that Baum had given birth to a baby boy in the bathroom. Both were dead when police officials arrived.

    Baum’s four-year-old son was also at the residence at the time of the deaths, said Orem Police Lt. Doug Edwards.

    Autopsies conducted by the Utah State Medical Examiner indicated that Baum, 26, had died from a loss of blood due to the baby’s birth and that the baby had drowned after having been either born or placed in the bathroom toilet.

    Air was found in the infant’s lungs, indicating that he had taken at least one breath before dying, according to a Deseret News report.

    At the time of her death, Baum was awaiting trial in the 4th District Court on a third degree felony charge of abuse or desecration of a human body.

    The charges were filed after a newborn baby girl was found in a garbage bag at the mouth of American Fork canyon by a jogger on Aug. 4, 1998.

    Baum admitted to the police of giving birth to the infant in her bathroom shower and said that she was uncertain as to whether or not the baby was alive when born.

    An autopsy conducted was inconclusive as to the cause of death and whether the baby was born alive or stillborn, said Kay Bryson, Utah County attorney.

    Following Baum’s death, tissue samples were sent to the University of Utah DNA Diagnostic Laboratory along with tissue samples, maintained by the Office of the Utah State Medical Examiner, from the unidentified infant found in the Provo River.

    Upon examination, the University of Utah DNA Diagnostic Laboratory concluded that there is a 99.33 percent probability that Darcie Jo Baum was the mother of the baby girl whose body was recovered from the Provo River in 1992.

    The Provo Police Department has now closed its investigation.

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