Angel Baby Doe cold case: Arrest made 23 years after newborn abandoned on side of road

A North Texas woman is facing multiple charges for allegedly leaving a baby on the side of the road more than 20 years ago.

In November 2001, a resident picking up cans between Alvarado and Burleson came across the body of a newborn, wrapped in a jacket with the umbilical cord still attached.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office says the little girl was born alive but then likely bled to death.

Angel Baby Doe

With no clues to the baby's identity, investigators referred to the child as "Angel Baby Doe" for the next 20 years.

Tuesday, the Texas Attorney General’s Office announced the baby’s biological mother, 48-year-old Shelby Stotts, was arrested on a second-degree manslaughter charge. 

Shelby Stotts (Source: Johnson County)

The AG’s office plans to prosecute this case under the laws that were in place at the time of the offense, which is common in cold cases. 

A few years ago, Johnson County detectives sent forensic evidence to Othram, a lab in The Woodlands, just north of Houston.

Othram uses advanced DNA testing to assist law enforcement agencies. Dr. Kristen Mittelman is the chief development officer. 

"Baby Doe’s, murdered children, there is no one to advocate for these cases because the victim is usually murdered by the people who would have advocated for them," she said.

Othram's technology has been used to identify people in 15 cases in the state of Texas, with Angel Baby Doe being one of the latest.

"We were able to do the genealogy, which took a long time," Mittelman said. "It was a difficult case, but we were able to actually provide the identity to law enforcement."


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In this case, scientists built a DNA profile and then compared the profile to a family tree. 

That led investigators to a match and the baby’s biological mother: Shelby Stotts.

According to the indictment, Stotts recklessly caused the death of the child by leaving the baby on the side of the road, failing to give the child medical care and failing to clamp the baby's umbilical cord.

Stotts was arrested on July 1 and is now facing several charges, including second-degree manslaughter.

Stotts is also a former employee at Cleburne High School. 

Cleburne ISD released a statement to FOX 4 on Tuesday saying that it is "aware of the arrest and grand jury indictment of Shelby Stotts. Cleburne ISD takes these allegations very seriously. Shelby Stotts is no longer employed by Cleburne ISD."

"I couldn’t be more proud to be part of giving this baby her name back and get justice for her," Dr. Mittelman said.

Stotts remains in the Johnson County Jail on a $100,000 bond.