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Search for clues in baby's death turns up nothing

WELCH, Minn. - A tip from a psychic, nine high-priority leads and a water search on Wednesday haven't brought authorities any closer to determining who dumped a baby girl's body into Sturgeon Lake this winter.

"It's fair to say we're still where we were before," said Capt. Pat Thompson, an investigator with the Goodhue County (Minn.) Sheriff's Department. "We'll still work the leads, the information, the DNA. That's all we can do."

A two-man crew spent more than three hours Wednesday combing four miles of shoreline along Sturgeon and North lakes.

Prairie Island Marina, where the girl's body was found March 26, is sandwiched between those two bodies of water.

Thompson said authorities have received 34 tips in the case, one of which came from a male psychic.

Information from that man has been placed by investigators in a low-priority category.

Nine other leads, however, are high priority to the sheriff's department.

Those tips have included specific information and names for authorities to investigate. The data have helped clear some names, officials said.

"We've taken DNA from people and have proved they're not involved," Thompson said. "That's just as important for law enforcement."

During their search Wednesday, authorities were hoping to find evidence like a towel or blanket that may have washed up on the shore.

Investigator Glen Barringer admitted that chances of finding evidence during the search were "slim."

But, he added, the possibility always exists that something useful will surface.

"Half our job is dumb luck," Barringer said. "That's why we do this."

Now authorities will turn to technology in hopes of cracking the case. Investigators are currently working with a Florida-based lab where DNA from the baby and two others found in years past will be sent for analysis.

The lab claims it can create an ethnic profile of the children, which could help paint a better picture of what their parents look like.

The profiles will cost the sheriff's department about $4,500.

This is the third time in eight years a child's body has been found in Goodhue County waters.

A baby girl was discovered in 1999 in Red Wing, Minn., near Bay Point Park. Four years later, a group of teenagers discovered a baby boy on the Lake Pepin shoreline in Frontenac, Minn.

Sheriff Dean Albers hasn't given up on the hope that the three active investigations will eventually be solved.

His department is still seeking the public's assistance.

"We follow all tips," he said. "We'd rather have leads that take us nowhere in the end than nothing at all."

Anyone with information regarding this case can call the Goodhue County Sheriff's Department at (651) 385-3155, the anonymous tip line at (866) 887-HELP or (651) 267-2699.

Jen Cullen can be reached at or 651.388.2914, ext. 120.