A woman has been arrested in Washington state for mur*der in a cold case involving the de*ath of her newborn baby at an Arizona airport almost 20 years ago, authorities announced this week. 

The newborn’s body was found in the trash in a woman’s restroom at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix on Oct. 10, 2005, wrapped inside a plastic bag with the red Marriott hotel logo. It was determined at the time that the newborn, who was about one day old when she died, had not been born in the airport bathroom but was abandoned there. A medical examiner later ruled the baby’s de*ath a h*omicide by suffocation, according to police.

The infant became known to the public as “Baby Skylar.” Despite widespread media attention, no suspects were named and homicide detectives said the case “went cold after all leads were exhausted.” 

But modern forensic testing on the baby’s body several years ago helped law enforcement to identify a potential maternal match, which led them to 51-year-old Annie Anderson, the suspect now charged in the baby’s de*ath. She was visiting Phoenix in October 2005 for a “real estate boot camp,” Lt. James Hester of the Phoenix Police Department told reporters at a news conference Tuesday.

Anderson admitted during an interview with investigators in January 2022 that she was Baby Skylar’s mother, the Phoenix Police Department said in a news release issued Monday and obtained by CBS News. Investigators had traveled to Washington state around that time to execute a search warrant for Anderson after forensic tests were done several months earlier. 

Agents with the FBI Phoenix Violent Crime Task Force worked with Phoenix Police cold case detectives to arrange those tests in November 2021. In addition to reviewing existing evidence in the case, which included DNA samples collected from the airport bathroom that were determined to belong to the baby’s mother, the investigators used genetic genealogy to help pinpoint DNA samples that could help find her. Once a potential match was found, they were able to cross-reference it with evidence originally discovered at the crime scene to identify Anderson as a suspect.

At Tuesday’s briefing, Special Agent Dan Horan, who supervises the FBI Phoenix Violent Crime Task Force, described genealogy testing an “identity resolution technique” that uses a publicly available genealogy database to link family matches to an unknown profile. In Baby Skylar’s case, the genealogy tests identified “someone in the family tree” who subsequently consented to their DNA sample being used on a one-time basis to push the investigation along and eventually identify Anderson. Horan declined to share details about the relative.

A grand jury in Maricopa County ultimately issued an arrest warrant for Anderson, on a first-degree m*urder charge, and she is now in custody in Washington state, police said. Anderson is being held in Washington as she waits to be extradited back to Arizona. She is expected to face multiple felony charges when she returns to Phoenix, police said.

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