Major Crimes Unit Recognized with Excellence in Homicide Investigation

Published on June 17, 2024

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit was recognized by the New Jersey Homicide Investigators Association (NJHIA) for the successful investigation and prosecution of the Baby Mary homicide cold case. The award was presented on Thursday, June 13, 2024, at the 29th Annual Advanced Homicide Conference at Princeton University.

The body of an abandoned newborn baby, named “Baby Mary,” was discovered in the Mendham Township woods by two boys on Christmas Eve in 1984. At the time of her discovery, the baby girl’s umbilical cord was still attached, and the Medical Examiner determined the infant had been alive at the time of her birth. The death was ruled a homicide.

Over the last four decades, investigators from the MCPO and the Mendham Police Department have vigorously pursued every lead to identify Baby Mary and learn more about the circumstances leading to her discovery in the woods.  Using new technology, law enforcement networking in three states, and old-fashioned police work, investigators were able to identify Baby Mary’s biological father and mother in 2023. The biological father passed away prior to being identified by investigators. There is no evidence the biological father was aware of the pregnancy, or Baby Mary’s birth or death.

As a result of the diligent work of MCPO investigators and Mendham Township Police, a juvenile delinquency complaint was filed against the biological mother of Baby Mary on April 24, 2023. Mary Catherine Crumlich was a juvenile at the time of her birth. On February 28, 2024, Crumlich entered a guilty plea to Manslaughter, an offense which would be a second degree crime if committed by an adult. On April 3, 2024, the Hon. Michael P. Wright, J.S.C. imposed a disposition of probation conditioned upon 364 days imprisonment at the Morris County Correctional Facility.

For more on the Baby Mary case arrest and disposition, click the following links.

Members of the MCPO Major Crimes Unit recognized by the NJHIA include Lt. Michael Gomez, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Schellhorn, Sgt. Sasha Gould, Sgt. Matt Magnone, Det. Melissa Atoche, Det. Matthew Belcastro, Det. Greg Federici, Det. Dakota Keyworth, and Det. Muhammad Thomas. Investigative support members were also recognized: Mendham Township Police Chief Ross Johnson, FS3 Christine Schlenker of the NJSP Office of Forensic Sciences, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Det. Rosie Brown, and Mendham Township Police Lt. Steve Bittman, Sgt. Matthew Ambrosi, and Det. Jim Arnesen.

Prosecutor Carroll said, “Congratulations to the men and women of the Major Crimes Unit and the Mendham Township Police Department, who brought closure to a heartbroken community and justice for a little girl abandoned four decades ago. The new forensic DNA technology was just one step in the complex and exhaustive investigation, across multiple states, which the members of the MCU team utilized to bring this case to fruition. I cannot overstate the amount of effort that went into this case. Mendham Township PD, and the hard-working investigators of the MCU, never forgot Baby Mary.”

The New Jersey Homicide Investigators Association was created to promote and implement advanced training for homicide detectives, establish a network for law enforcement to encourage information-sharing among various disciplines, and assist officers and their families in need by promoting charitable events and donations.

Media inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to [email protected].


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