Mother pleads guilty to second-degree murder of newborn left by river in 2003

This undated photo provided by the Goodhue County, Minnesota, Sheriff's Office shows Jennifer...
This undated photo provided by the Goodhue County, Minnesota, Sheriff's Office shows Jennifer Matter.(Goodhue County Sheriff's Office via AP)
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 3:47 PM CST
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RED WING, Minn. (KTTC/KARE) – A Red Wing woman pleaded guilty Wednesday for second-degree murder after admitting to leaving her newborn to die by the Mississippi River in 2003.

Jennifer Lynn Matter entered her guilty plea in Goodhue County Court with a sentencing date scheduled for Apr. 28, 2023.

KARE 11 said Matter admitted to giving birth on Methodist Beach in 2003 and leaving the baby with the intention of not coming back to get him. Prosecutors say DNA evidence also links Matter to a baby girl found by the Mississippi four years earlier, but no charges have been filed.

Matter was identified in May 2022 through DNA as the mother of both babies. The Minnesota BCA said advancements in technology led to the advancements in the investigation of the deaths of the two babies, which had gone unsolved for decades.

A KARE 11 review of court records found that Matter was a recently-divorced mother of two in 1999 when she became pregnant with the baby eventually dumped in the boat harbor.

Investigators were able to find the father of the 1999 baby with help from a genetic genealogy company. He was not her ex-husband. By all accounts in the court papers, the man never knew Matter was pregnant.

It is unclear whether authorities have been able to track down the father of the 2003 baby. It is not the same man as in 1999.

RELATED: Red Wing woman arrested in deaths of two babies found deceased in 1999 and 2003