• The bodies of the victims were discovered by a waste management employee
  • The accused admitted to the murder after she was arrested
  • She was charged with two counts of first-degree murder

A Michigan woman has been arrested 17 years after her newborn babies were found dead in a garbage bin in Chicago.

Antoinette Briley, 41, was arrested Thursday after the investigators used genetic genealogy to track down the babies’ mother, a statement by the Cook County Sheriff's Office said. Briley was charged on two counts of first-degree murder for the 2003 cold case killing of newborn twin boys.

The bodies of the victims were first discovered by a waste management employee in a truck’s front bucket while emptying the garbage bins in Stickney Township in Illinois. The autopsy report suggested the victims died of asphyxiation.

A breakthrough in the cold case came when the investigating officers reassessed it after the arrest of Joseph DeAngelo, who was also known as the Golden State killer. He was responsible for a number of rapes and murders in California in the 1970s-80s, and these crimes were solved using genetic genealogy, which identified the suspect by matching DNA evidence with publicly available DNA profiles, NBC news reported.

The investigation matched the DNA evidence from the victim's bodies with that of the accused. pixabay

The newborn murder case was reopened in 2018, and the officers approached Parabon NanoLabs, an investigative genetic genealogy company. They found that Briley’s DNA from her "discarded items" matched the DNA of the victims.

The Cook County police obtained the information about Briley and took her into custody. Briley admitted she was involved in the “birth, death and disposal of the infants” after she was arrested.

Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Dominique Marshall told the court that evidence suggested it was a "live birth," the Chicago Tribune reported.

Briley admitted to the police that she began to bleed when she was alone at her grandparents’ home, had delivered the babies in a waterless tub, and had heard them crying.

“They were both crying when they were born, but not crying so loud that neighbors could hear,” Briley said.

She told the police she had placed the babies in a duffle bag and decided to take them to the hospital. However, while traveling to the hospital, she had changed her mind and threw the babies in a garbage bin. “If nobody knew … no one would ever know,” she had thought to herself, she said, as per the Chicago Tribune.

Courtney Smallwood, Briley’s public defender said she had no previous criminal history and there were no witnesses to the alleged incident. Judge Susana Ortiz ordered Briley be held on a $150,000 bond during a hearing Saturday at the Leighton Criminal Court.