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Mother and her girlfriend arrested after DNA identifies 9-year-old murder victim found in bag hidden in forest

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Source: Unsplash; Oregon State Police

Dec. 2 2021, Published 2:35 p.m. ET

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Investigators in Oregon have arrested two women after DNA tests revealed the identity of a child whose body was found stuffed in a bag.

“Investigators and experts at the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office, collected samples from the child’s remains for DNA testing by a specialty DNA laboratory,” Oregon State Police said, noting tests identified the child on Oct. 4 as 9-year-old Haley Mae Coblentz.

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According to authorities, the victim was never reported missing and she had been living with her biological mother Shawna Browning, 29, and her mother’s 34-year-old partner, Lauren Harrison, since 2015 in multiple locations throughout Oregon and the greater Northwest, KCBY reported.

In December 2020, Oregon State Police said, an individual walking near a rest area in Lincoln County “discovered the remains of a female child, concealed inside a duffle bag, then hidden in the forest.”

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Investigators determined from the level of decomposition that the murder victim appeared to have died between 30 to 60 days before her body was discovered.

Law enforcement took Browning and Harrison into custody in Detroit, Michigan, on Nov. 30 and executed a search warrant on their hotel room and car.

The pair are being held without bail in Wayne County, Michigan, on aggravated murder charges and are expected to be extradited to Oregon.

Police have not revealed a possible motive for the crime.

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