This totally blows my mind.
I know this woman slightly, as a friend of a friend.
If I had to pick 500 names of people likely to do something like this, she'd never even be considered.
Obviously guilt-ridden, as she would have never even been a suspect without the call she made to the authorities (as described below). Otherwise, they would never have any reason to even speak to her -- no one even knew she was pregnant. (Which is strange itself, as she is pretty slim.) Had she not confessed, I'd never have believed it.
DNA leads to arrest in 'Baby Joseph' slaying case
By HOLLY HUFFMAN
Eagle Staff Writer
Six months after a dead newborn was found dumped in the trash at Texas World Speedway, Brazos County sheriff's officials said Friday they had located the boy's mother and charged her with murder.
Sheriff Chris Kirk said DNA testing linked Susan Chiniewicz, a 35-year-old mother of three from North Texas, to the baby boy whose body was discovered in a trash can at the southern Brazos County racetrack Oct. 3.
Chiniewicz, who lives in The Colony, contacted investigators later that month after they put out a plea for information about the dead baby. She told them she had experienced heavy menstruation while attending a weekend race event at the track and said she might have caused a "mess" in the rest room, Kirk said.
But, after being confronted with DNA test results Thursday, she admitted to giving birth and then placing the child in a trash can, according to an investigator's affidavit.
"This investigation has had a profound effect on our officers, the staff and the investigators that worked this case," Kirk said during a midmorning press conference called to announce the arrest. "It was a startling discovery and a tragic incident."
He added: "Now that the case is finally solved, it is closure for our investigators and, I believe, closure for our community."
Chiniewicz, a former newspaper reporter in North Texas, owns a writing and graphic design firm and has served as an ambassador for The Colony Chamber of Commerce. The Colony is about 25 miles north of Dallas.
She was being held Friday in the Denton County Jail, awaiting transport to Brazos County. Kirk said he didn't know when the transfer would take place.
Brazos County Justice of the Peace Ray Truelove has recommended she be held on $1.5 million bond once she arrives, Kirk said.
A woman who answered the phone at Chiniewicz's home but would not identify herself said the family had no comment.
The child - named Baby Joseph by investigators - was found by cleaning crews the Monday after a weekend racing event put on by the Central Motorcycle Roadracing Association and Lone Star Track Days.
Joseph was in a bag filled with papers, beer bottles and other trash that lined a 55-gallon container in a women's rest room, according to a sheriff's investigator's affidavit. Blood stains were found in one of the rest room stalls.
An autopsy determined that Joseph - a 6-pound, full-term baby - had been born alive but later suffocated. The report also lists "environmental exposure and neglect after delivery complicated by beta hemolytic group B streptococcus infection." The infection is a form of strep common in newborns.
The death was ruled a homicide. Doctors said it appeared as though a piece of white trash was obstructing the infant's breathing passage.
Following the discovery, investigators worked with the two motorcycle groups that hosted the race to identify and send notices to members who attended. The case was overwhelming from the start, the sheriff said, because the race event drew more than 1,000 participants and spectators from several states.
"It was a very complicated investigation," Kirk said. "Most of the participants came to the area from not just outside our county, but from outside the state of Texas."
Chiniewicz called Brazos County sheriff's investigators to report that she had been at the race and had experienced "heavier than normal" menstruation while there. She told investigators that her doctor could confirm that she had not been pregnant but had been treated for medical issues related to her menstrual cycle.
Investigators met with Chiniewicz and her doctor in late October. The doctor told investigators that he had treated Chiniewicz, but he could not verify that she had not given birth. She agreed to give a DNA sample the following day.
Test results were returned from the Texas Department of Public Safety crime lab Thursday. That's when Chiniewicz told investigators she gave birth Oct. 1 in a rest room of the speedway, where she had gone with her husband, Michael, and three children. She said she cleaned herself and the child and then placed him in the trash.
Kirk would not say whether Michael Chiniewicz was being investigated. Sheriff's officials still were trying Friday to confirm the identity of the baby's father, he added.
Susan Chiniewicz is listed on The Colony Chamber of Commerce Web site as a captain of one of the organization's ambassador teams. She also is featured in a group photo in the winter 2005 edition of the chamber's magazine, The Colony Connection.
Jeff Meyers, chairman of the board for The Colony Chamber of Commerce, confirmed Friday that Chiniewicz had been a member of the organization for the past several years. He described her as a "very involved" member who became active through her writing firm and previous work as a reporter in the area.
Recently, he said, she had served primarily as an ambassador for the group. He declined to comment further, saying he didn't know Chiniewicz personally.
"It's news to me," Meyers said. "It just blows me away."
Others expressed similar sentiments.
A chamber volunteer who declined to give his last name, identifying himself only as Mike, said Chiniewicz had lived in The Colony for about 15 years. He said he had met Chiniewicz's husband and children at chamber events, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
"I didn't even know that she was pregnant. ... Oh, my goodness," he said after learning of the arrest. "She was a very positive, upbeat woman. It's very surprising. This is all very shocking."
Coordinators of the Central Motorcycle Roadracing Association declined an interview request Friday, but they did release a statement expressing gratitude to the sheriff's investigators who worked on the case.
"A tragedy of this nature has never occurred in the 30-year history of our organization. While we are relieved that this case has been solved, it is a very sad situation and our hearts go out to everyone involved," the release states. "We hope that the cooperation of our club and its members somehow helped bring this matter to a conclusion."