Mother Sentenced in Slaying of Her Newborn in 1992

Infant girl was found in a South Carolina river
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 18, 2021 4:29 PM CDT
Updated Aug 23, 2023 5:51 PM CDT
30 Years After Infant's Body Found in River, Mom Arrested
Stacy Michelle Costner Rabon   (York County Sheriff's Office)
UPDATE Aug 23, 2023 5:51 PM CDT

A South Carolina woman was given a life sentence Wednesday in the 1992 death of her newborn daughter. Stacy Michelle Costner Rabon, 50, had been found guilty of homicide by child abuse this month by a York County jury. She'll be eligible for parole in 2031 because she was sentenced under the law in 1992, which provided for shorter sentences for serious convictions, the AP reports. Rabon asked the court for mercy. "I can't think of anything but her face," she said. Circuit Court Judge Bill McKinnon told her the life sentence was appropriate because the victim was helpless. "A newborn comes into this world looking for its parents to protect it," he said. "This baby was stabbed more than 50 times."

Aug 18, 2021 4:29 PM CDT

Nearly 30 years after an infant girl's stabbed body was found floating on a South Carolina river, authorities announced the arrest Tuesday of the child's mother and said she has been charged in the death, per the AP. Stacy Michelle Costner Rabon, 48, of Rock Hill, SC, faces a charge of homicide by child abuse in connection with the girl's death in August 1992. She could face 30 years to life if convicted. Only hours old when she died, the child was found wrapped in a bedsheet inside a plastic grocery bag that was discovered by a swimmer on the Catawba River, officials said. Authorities said the child had stab wounds but a coroner's report determined that the death was the result of suffocation. In 1992, the baby was named Angel Hope by members of the community who also paid for her burial at a cemetery in Rock Hill.

Detectives reexamined the case last October and submitted DNA from the bed sheet to the York County Forensic Biology Lab for testing. A DNA match between the baby and Rabon was made thanks to Rabon's 2019 arrest on a drug distribution charge, after which her DNA was collected and put in a national DNA database, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said at a Tuesday news conference. Rabon—who didn't deny that the baby was hers, according to reporting from WSOC's Greg Suskin—was arrested Tuesday and is being held at the York County Detention Center. The sheriff thanked detectives and DNA analysts for allowing "the closure of a case that has haunted our community for years." "This child deserved our best," he said. "Maybe now she will be called Baby Angel Justice."

(More murder stories.)

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