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Mom convicted of wrapping ‘Baby Mary Anne’ in plastic and throwing child away in YMCA dumpster days after secret 2007 birth

Tara Brazzle

Tara Brazzle (L) in a 2021 Lancaster County mugshot and (R) in 2023.

An Indiana mother and former Lancaster County, Pa., resident who gave birth in secret to “Baby Mary Anne” back in 2007 and threw the newborn away in a dumpster behind the YMCA where she worked will spend anywhere from half a decade to two decades behind bars in the Keystone State.

Tara E. Brazzle, now 46, entered an Alford plea to third-degree murder, meaning she accepts there was enough evidence to convict without technically admitting to the crime. As a result, she was sentenced to serve 5.5 to 20 years behind bars in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, according to the office of Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams.

“Baby Mary Anne” was found dead in the dumpster on Sept. 24, 2007 after someone smelled decomposing remains and reported it to police. The case haunted members of the Lancaster community for more than a decade.

Baby Mary Anne's headstone (CBS 21 screengrab)

Baby Mary Anne’s headstone (CBS 21 screengrab)

There would be no major public developments until the summer of 2021, but Lancaster City Bureau of Police Sgt. Randell Zook in Nov. 2018 used a public genetic genealogy database to link the baby to Brazzle through a second cousin.

“The DNA evidence collected in the case was submitted to Parabon NanoLabs, which had become well-known for combining genetic analysis with genealogical research to determine the ancestry of a victim or defendant,” the DA’s office said. “Sergeant Zook and Parabon were able to piece together that Brazzle was the mother of Baby Mary Anne after the baby’s DNA was uploaded into a public genetic genealogy database in Nov. 2018 and revealed a second cousin.”

As Law&Crime reported after her arrest, Brazzle flew to California the day after she sat down on July 1, 2021 for an interview with Lancaster City Bureau of Police and acknowledged, for the first time, that she was the mother of the child. Brazzle was living in Valparaiso, Indiana, at the time and was the mother to other children.

“During the interview, Brazzle admitted to being the mother of the baby and giving birth to the baby at her former residence located in Ronks, Strasburg Township, Lancaster County,” the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office said. “Brazzle indicated that she knew she was pregnant, failed to seek any prenatal care for the baby and did not provide any medical care to the baby after giving birth. According to Brazzle, she placed the baby in the trash dumpster located behind the YMCA several days later.”

Brazzle’s decision to take a flight to California after these admissions were made promptly led investigators to seek a warrant for her arrest. Once Brazzle touched down in the Golden State and disembarked from the plane, she was arrested by the San Jose Police Department, prosecutors said.

Brazzle, who went by the name Tara Indrakosit at the time of the incident, was accused of wrapping “Baby Mary Anne” — born between 35 and 38 weeks — in a towel and several plastic bags before placing the victim in a canvas bag with her placenta and umbilical cord. An autopsy determined the baby died from asphyxiation.

Prosecutors said that the precise manner of the asphyxiation was a “triable issue” of fact, and they indicated that was a driving factor in pursuing this outcome.

“While there is a triable issue as to the specific manner in how the baby was asphyxiated, the defendant agrees that the Commonwealth at trial would present sufficient evidence upon which a jury could convict her of, at least, third-degree murder,” said First Assistant District Attorney Todd Brown, according to the DA’s office. “Specifically, at minimum, the conduct of the defendant secreting both the pregnancy and delivery of the baby and not seeking any medical attention or assistance and ultimately disposing of the baby in the manner she did provides a basis upon which a malicious killing could be found.”

Brown hoped the sentence would bring “closure to many in both the civilian and law enforcement community who were affected by this event in 2007.”

Part of Brazzle’s sentence also requires her to pay $4,846.62 for “special costs of prosecution regarding the DNA laboratory fees,” prosecutors noted.

The Lancaster paper LNP said that Brazzle offered an apology in court. Her defense attorney Anthony Damiano, alluding to “issues” in his client’s past, reportedly said she was abused as a child by her Texas father.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.