DNA technology used to sketch mother of baby found dead in Calgary dumpster

Police have hired a U.S. DNA technology firm to create a sketch of the possible likeness of the mother of a baby found dead in a Calgary dumpster on Christmas Eve, as investigators continue in their efforts to find her.

Investigators hired U.S. company to use genetic material to predict mother's physical appearance

The sketch of the woman was created through a process called DNA phenotyping, shows a possible likeness, at about age 25, of the mother of a baby found abandoned in a northwest Calgary dumpster on Christmas Eve. (Calgary Police Service)

Police have hired a U.S. DNA technology firm to create a sketch of the possible likeness of the mother of a baby found dead in a Calgary dumpster on Christmas Eve, as investigators continue in their efforts to find her. 

The newborn girl was found in a parking lot near the intersection of Bowness Road and 79th Street N.W.    

Police believe the baby was not stillborn, that she was alive for some period of time before dying, but it's not yet known whether the infant was already dead when placed in the dumpster, Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta of the CPS homicide unit said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The Virginia-based company used DNA phenotyping — the process of predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified genetic evidence — to create a picture of the mother. Police released approximations of what she might look like at age 18 and also at 25, since her actual age is unkown.

A sketch of the baby was also released. 

Here are details of what the police believe about the mother:

  • Likely of mixed race, possibly of Métis or Indigenous descent, with a fair complexion.
  • Hair is likely dark, likely brown or black.
  • Has hazel or green eyes. 

Police initially received numerous tips from the public, but have since run out of investigative avenues, said Schiavetta.

"It's really frustrating from an investigative point of view," he said. 

Schiavetta said it's important to note that the mother is not being sought as a suspect and that officials are concerned about her welfare — especially given that evidence was found at the scene leading police to believe she was in medical distress.

"We don't know the mother's welfare right now. That's really important," he said.