Police: South Carolina Mom Abandoned 2nd Baby 30 Years Ago

COLUMBIA, S.C.—A South Carolina mother already facing a murder charge for abandoning her baby daughter in 1990 is now charged with dumping the body of her infant son nearly a year earlier.

DNA tests determined the two babies had the same mother and father, leading to Thursday’s arrest of Brook Graham, Greenville County Sheriff’s Lt. Ryan Flood said.

In the latest case, Graham is charged with desecration of human remains and unlawful neglect of a child because the medical examiner in 1989 couldn’t determine if the baby was born alive, Flood said Thursday in a statement.

Graham, 53, was charged with murder in the death of the baby girl given the name ‘Julie Valentine’ after the infant was found dead inside a vacuum cleaner box in a vacant lot in Greenville in February 1990 by a man picking Valentine’s Day flowers for his wife, authorities said.

Ten months earlier, girls playing in woods about 5 miles away, found the body of a baby boy who appeared to be fully developed inside a trash bag in April 1989, investigators said.

Graham’s lawyer did not answer an email seeking comment Friday.

Graham faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the new felony charges involving the baby boy. She faces up to life in prison if convicted of murder in the death of the baby girl.

A tip from The Greenville News led deputies to reopen the baby boy’s case, Flood said.

The father of the two babies has not been charged.

The DNA in the infant girl case was compared to DNA samples in family genealogy sites and first led police to the father, Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller said.

The father then helped investigators find Graham, the chief said.

The father hasn’t been charged in either case, but investigators for both police agencies say more charges are possible.

Graham has two adult children and investigators said they are reviewing how they were raised as a part of the case.

‘Julie Valentine’

Every detective on the Greenville police force back in February 1990 worked on the case of the baby who became known as Julie Valentine, Miller said.

The baby was 6.5 pounds, born breathing, but not in a hospital, and was found with her umbilical cord and placenta still attached, wrapped in newspaper and bedding inside a vacuum cleaner box along with other trash, including an old sofa, Miller said at a news conference on April 4.

‘Julie Valentine’ was found on Feb. 13, 1990, by a man picking flowers for his wife for Valentine’s Day, Miller said. The holiday combined with the name of the wife of one of the detectives who worked tirelessly on the case gave the baby her name, the chief said.

The investigation continues and more charges may be filed. Miller credited the baby’s probable father for leading them to Graham but said detectives still aren’t sure how much he knew about what happened to his daughter. Both continued to live in the Greenville area after 1990, the chief said.

“We grieve the loss of what could have been—all the firsts Julie Valentine couldn’t experience,” said Shauna Galloway-Williams, executive director of the Julie Valentine Center.

The center to help victims of sexual assault and child abuse in Greenville was renamed for the abandoned baby in 2011.

Miller said DNA testing and other modern technology has been a boon to helping solve cold cases. He said he has no problems with using DNA from genealogy sites to help put criminals behind bars and give some comfort to people who have been hurt by unsolved cases for decades.

“People are consenting to connect and identify their lineage,” the chief said. “People are consenting to the public use of their DNA.”

By Jeffrey Collins

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Author: The Associated Press