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Angel Baby Doe case solved in North Texas – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Investigators have solved a decades-old unsolved case related to the death of “Angel Baby Doe,” a newborn whose body was found on the side of a road near Fort Worth in November 2001, authorities said.

The little girl's body was found in November 2001 in Johnson County between the towns of Alvarado and Burleson.

According to the Johnson County Sheriff's Office, the baby was likely born alive and outside of a medical facility. She was abandoned on the side of Briar Oaks Road, wrapped in a jacket with the umbilical cord still attached.

Steve Shaw, a retired Johnson County detective, was one of the first on the scene.

“I can look at the pictures and probably write you a photo log of all the pictures. It's alive,” Shaw said.

Officials said a male resident was picking up cans on the side of the road and found the dead newborn, wrapped in a jacket and still attached to the umbilical cord. After Johnson County officials arrived at the scene, they determined the newborn was a girl. Since her identity was unknown, she was dubbed “Angel Baby Doe.”

The sheriff's office stated that due to the circumstances leading to the child's death, investigators concluded that the death was the result of a crime.

Investigators like Shaw followed leads for years.

“We interviewed a lot of people, did a lot of cheek swabs, but there were no matches,” Shaw recalls.

Shaw retired in 2017 but continued his search for justice in the case.

In June 2021, more than 20 years after Angel Baby Doe's death, Johnson County investigators turned over forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas, in hopes of identifying the child using modern DNA testing.

“Othram scientists were able to develop a DNA profile of the infant and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to create a comprehensive DNA profile of the child,” the Johnson County Sheriff's Office said in a press release Tuesday.

“Othram's internal forensic genetic genealogy team then used this profile to conduct extensive genetic genealogy research and ultimately provided law enforcement with new investigative lines.”

In 2022, the Sheriff's Office also asked the Texas Attorney General's Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit for assistance in investigating new leads.

In September 2023, the Attorney General's Office said DNA from “Angel Baby Doe” and Shelby Stotts, 48, indicated that Stotts was the baby's biological mother.

“Additional evidence suggests that the child was alive and breathing at the time of birth and that Stotts is responsible for abandoning the child,” the attorney general's office said in an email Monday.

Shelby Stotts is charged with second-degree manslaughter after investigators say she abandoned her newborn daughter on the side of the road in Johnson County sometime in November 2001.

Stotts was charged and arrested on Monday.

According to the indictment, “Stotts negligently caused the death of her newborn daughter by leaving the baby unattended on the side of the road, failing to seek immediate medical attention after birth, and failing to clamp the baby's umbilical cord, which caused the child to bleed to death.”

She is charged with second-degree manslaughter and remained in the Johnson County Jail on $100,000 bail Tuesday night.

Stotts declined NBC 5's request for an interview.

According to Cleburne ISD, Stotts was a teacher's assistant at Cleburne High School.

In a statement, the district said: “The Cleburne Independent School District is aware of the grand jury arrest and indictment of Shelby Stotts. Cleburne ISD takes these allegations very seriously. Shelby Stotts is no longer employed by Cleburne ISD. The district intends to follow school board policies and state law and investigate the matter thoroughly. Because this is a personnel matter, the district cannot provide further details or comment further, in accordance with state law and school board policies.”