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Red Wing, MN (KROC-AM News) - A Red Wing area woman has entered a guilty plea to a second-degree murder charge connected to the deaths of two newborn children found dead in the Mississippi River
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50-year-old Jennifer Matter admitted to the charge today in Goodhue County Court. The Goodhue County Attorney's Office has agreed to dismiss another second-degree murder count and drop its request for an aggravated sentence in the case. The presumptive sentence for the crime under state sentencing guidelines is just over 27 years in prison. The plea agreement allows Matter's defense team to argue for a reduced punishment when her sentencing hearing is held on April 28.

Goodhue County Sheriff's Office photo
Goodhue County Sheriff's Office photo
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Matter was charged last year after investigators used DNA evidence to identify her as the mother of a newborn girl who was found dead in the Mississippi River near Red Wing on November 11, 1999. The genetic testing also identified her as the mother of a newborn boy whose remains were discovered in Lake Pepin at Frontenac in December 2003.

The guilty plea is connected to the 2003 death of Matter's newborn son. In her Petition to Plead Guilty, Matter admitted concealing her pregnancy and giving birth to the child on Methodist Beach along the shore of Lake Pepin at Frontenac on the evening of December 6, 2003. Matter confessed to placing the newborn child near the water's edge without clothing or a blanket while the temperature was near freezing before she walked away, got into her car, and drove away with no intention of returning, knowing that the infant would not survive.

(Below is a portion of the criminal complaint against Matter)

Goodhue County Court
Goodhue County Court
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At the time of her arrest, authorities credited the work of Parabon NanoLabs with identifying Matter as the mother of the deceased infants. The company is well known for specializing in genetic genealogy. The testing was paid for through donations from Goodhue County residents.

The body of a third newborn child was recovered from the Mississippi River in the marina at the Treasure Island Casino in 2007. The death of the infant girl remains unsolved.

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