Nearly three decades ago, a newborn was strangled to death and tossed in a South Carolina River. Over the years, nobody knew who gave birth to the baby or even the newborn’s name.
That changed this week when police arrested the child’s mother after 29 years.
On Aug. 17, the York County Sheriff’s Office announced they charged Stacy Michelle Costner Rabon, 48, in connection to the 29-year-old cold case known as “Baby Angel Hope.”
On Aug. 12, 1992, a swimmer found a newborn rapped inside a bedsheet and plastic bag along the Catawba River. The infant was only a few hours old when she died and had stab wounds, according to the sheriff’s office.
However, the coroner’s report noted the baby died from suffocation and not drowning or the stabbings.
Police at the time were unable to identify the victim’s parents or who left her in the water.
In October 2020, detectives submitted DNA from the bedsheet and matched the baby with Rabon.
“I will tell you those investigators years ago who worked on this case would have solved this case had they had the technology we have today,” Sheriff Kevin Tolson said at a press conference the agency streamed online.
“It wasn’t for the lack of good or hard work or dedication or concern for how horrific this crime was.”
Tolson said Rabon has lived in the area for the last 29 years. She has been charged with homicide by child abuse. Rabon is being held without bond in a local jail.
The baby was initially named “Baby Jane Doe,” but members of the community renamed her “Angel Hope” and paid for her funeral expenses. Today, “Angel Hope” is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Tolson praised the work of the detectives on the case and said it felt good solving the cold case.
“It was once ‘Baby Jane Doe,’ then it was ‘Baby Angel Hope,’” Tolson said, “Maybe now it’s baby ‘Angel Justice.’”