36-year-old Aroostook County cold case solved using DNA technology

Lee Ann Daigle
Lee Ann Daigle
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 3:24 PM EDT
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FRENCHVILLE, Maine (WAGM) - An arrest has been made in a 36-year-old cold case involving a newborn that was found dead in Frenchville shortly after birth.

The mother of the baby was arrested Tuesday in Massachusetts after DNA evidence was matched.

WAGM was in Frenchville in 1985 covering a story regarding a deceased infant that was discovered after a dog carried the newborn 700 feet to the home of Armand Pelletier in Frenchville from a nearby gravel pit.

“I saw the baby and I couldn’t believe it at first, I thought it was just a little doll, rubber doll that my dog had brought back to the house but the more I saw it the more I thought it was real. After I realized it was a real baby, its when I saw the umbilical cord hanging from the baby,” said Armand Pelletier.

The medical examiner, back in 1985, concluded that the baby girl, who had come to be known as Baby Jane Doe was left to die in the gravel pit. A considerable amount of blood, as well as what police believe to be a placenta were discovered near the gravel pit.

Authorities were unsuccessful in their search for the mother of the child for 36 years, though they never gave up hope.

“It is with great pleasure today, that I would like to announce that we’ve made an arrest in a 36-year-old Aroostook County homicide case. On Monday, June 13, 2022, Maine State Police detectives traveled to Lowell, Massachusetts to arrest the mother of the Baby Jane Doe homicide case who was found dead in Frenchville, Maine on Dec. 7, 1985,” said Lt. Jeff Love, Maine State Police Unsolved Homicide Unit.

Over the years, advancements in DNA technology allowed police to identify 58-year-old Lee Ann Daigle, formerly known as Lee Ann Guerrette of Lowell, Massachusetts, as Baby Jane Doe’s mother. She was arrested outside her home on June 13 and brought to Maine where she appeared in Houlton Superior Court Tuesday morning on murder charges.

“On or between Dec. 6 or 7, 1985, in the county of Aroostook, State of Maine, Lee Ann Daigle, formerly known as Lee Ann Guerette, date of birth 3/18/1964, did intentionally or knowingly cause the death of a human being known as Baby Jane Doe, date of birth 12/6/1985 or 12/7/1985 or did engage in conduct that manifested a depraved indifference to the value of human life and which in fact caused the death of a human being known as Baby Jane Doe,” said Judge Rob Langer, Houlton Superior Court.

For the past two years, Detective Jay Pelletier, an Aroostook County native of the Maine State Police Unsolved Homicide Unit, headed the investigation to bring justice to Baby Jane Doe.

“Having been from the area, I remember the media coverage initially. With the addition of DNA and genealogy information we felt that this was a case that could be worked on at this time. I knew the history of the case, also I knew the retirees that had worked on it before me and kept in close contact with them, so in conjunction with them, reading the reports and trying to determine who the mother was of Baby Jane Doe, this was one that was definitely workable for our unit and in conjunction with Major Crimes North,” said Detective Jay Pelletier.

Daigle has entered an initial plea of not guilty, and is being held at the Aroostook County Jail without bail. Her next appearance will be at Fort Kent District Court on Aug. 8.

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