Resolution Reached in Decades-Old "Baby Mary" Homicide Case


Nearly 40 Years Later, Justice Served in the Tragic Case of "Baby Mary" in Mendham Township.

In a pivotal moment for Morris County law enforcement and the Mendham Township community, a long-standing cold case—the 1984 homicide of an infant known only as "Baby Mary"—has finally reached a conclusion. Mary Catherine Crumlich, now 57 and a resident of Columbia, South Carolina, has been adjudicated delinquent for her role in the tragic event that occurred nearly four decades ago. On April 3, 2024, Judge Michael P. Wright imposed a probationary sentence on Crumlich, conditioned upon her serving 364 days in the Morris County Correctional Facility.

This case, rooted in sorrow and shrouded in mystery for years, began on Christmas Eve 1984 when two boys discovered the body of a newborn girl in a secluded wooded area in Mendham Township. The child, found wrapped in a towel and placed inside a plastic bag, was determined by the Medical Examiner to have been alive at birth. The infant, baptized "Mary" by Rev. Michael Drury, lay unidentified until recent breakthroughs in forensic DNA technology provided critical leads.

Crumlich, who was a juvenile at the time of the incident and went by the surname Snyder, entered a guilty plea to Manslaughter on February 28, 2024. Her identification as the defendant remained protected under the New Jersey Code of Juvenile Justice until now. The determination to finally bring closure to this case underscores the dedication of numerous law enforcement officers and forensic specialists across three states, leveraging both modern technological advances and diligent investigative work to solve a nearly 40-year-old mystery.

The collaborative effort involved the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, the Morris County Sheriff's Office, the Mendham Township Police Department, and the New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Sciences, among others. The painstaking work of these individuals highlights an unwavering commitment to justice, not just for Baby Mary, but for the community that mourned her loss.

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

Prosecutor Carroll said, “This disposition has been years in the making, across generations of law enforcement who have demonstrated a relentless commitment to justice for Baby Mary. This nearly 40-year-old case was solved through new forensic DNA technology, combined with traditional, boots-on-the-ground police work, carried out in multiple states."

Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll commended the cross-generational effort of law enforcement, emphasizing that the resolution was achieved through the fusion of new DNA technology and traditional investigative methods. Mendham Township Police Chief Ross Johnson and Morris County Sheriff James Gannon also expressed their pride in bringing closure to a case that has lingered over the community for decades.

This adjudication not only marks the end of a long and complex journey for law enforcement but also signifies a moment of reflection and justice for Baby Mary, who was left in the woods on that cold winter day. Her case, though silent for years, speaks volumes about the advancements in forensic science and the persistent pursuit of truth and justice by law enforcement agencies.


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