Nearly three decades have passed since a man walking in Moline's old 17th Street Park found a trash bag containing the body of an infant girl floating along the shores of Mississippi River.
The child became known as "Baby April," named for the month in 1992 she was found. She was buried in Riverside Cemetery.
Moline Police Chief Darren Gault said Thursday the diligence of detectives and advancements in the use of DNA led to the arrest of Angela Siebke, 47, of Whitehall, Ohio. She is being held in the Rock Island County Jail and charged with first-degree murder in the death.
Siebke's bail was set at $1 million.
In a media conference Thursday, Gault looked back on the case and described the technology that led to Siebke's arrest.
"This case has been diligently worked by the Moline Police Department for many years, initially by retired Det. George Miklas and Det. Mike Griffin," Gault said. "Through advancements in DNA technology, Moline police obtained a DNA profile of the mother and pursued criminal charges against the unknown mother.
Gault recalled in 2014 then-Rock Island County States Attorney John McGehee announced a first-degree murder charge against “female contributor to human DNA profile P92-001627."
At the time of McGehee's announcement a warrant was issued for the arrest of a female possessing that DNA profile and was entered into a statewide database. If someone with that DNA profile was identified, the charge would be amended with the legal name of the individual.
Gault explained genetic genealogy tracing and the work done on Baby April's case by a company called Parabon Nanolabs.
"Genetic genealogy is a lead generation tool that can be used to identify human remains by tying DNA to a family or point to the likely identity of an individual whose DNA was found at a crime scene," Gault said.
Genetic genealogists use comparative DNA analysis — the measure of the amount of DNA that is shared between two people, combined with traditional genealogy research using historical records to infer relationships between individuals.
Gault said Parabon "... only uses publicly available GG databases, such as GEDmatch, with policies that users must agree to that allow law enforcement usage."
Gault said the search for who might have put Baby April in the waters of the Mississippi River heated up last month.
In November, Parabon Nanolabs provided an additional genetic genealogy research report that provided genetic matches and genealogy research used to construct a set of ancestors and narrow down a final list of leads.
Moline Police investigators worked the leads and on Dec. 1 located Siebke at her residence in Ohio. In 1992, Siebke was a resident of Orion, Ill.
Siebke was served a search warrant for her DNA by Moline Police detectives who traveled to Ohio. A warrant for her arrest was issued Dec. 17.