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Mother is charged with murdering her newborn twins in 2003

Mother is charged with murdering her newborn twins, whose bodies were found in a trash can in 2003, after police tracked her down using genetic genealogy

  • Antoinette Briley of Holland, Michigan was charged with two counts of first-degree murder Friday
  • The 41-year-old is accused of killing her newborn twin boys on June 6, 2003  
  • Their bodies were discovered in a trash can in an alleyway in Stickney Township, Illinois, Cook County Sheriff’s Office said
  • Autopsy determined they were born alive and died of asphyxiation 
  • The case had gone cold until 2018 when police reopened the investigation and used genetic genealogy research to track down the birth mother 

Antoinette Briley, 41, of Holland, Michigan is charged with two counts of first-degree murder

A Michigan woman has been charged with murdering her newborn twins in 2003 after investigators were able to link her to the crime scene nearly two decades later using genetic genealogy. 

Antoinette Briley, 41, of Holland, was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree murder, Cook County Sheriff’s office said. 

She was arrested a day earlier during a traffic stop after authorities located her in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

Briley is accused of killing her infant twin boys, whose bodies were found in garbage bins in an alleyway in Stickney Township, Illinois on June 6, 2003. 

A waste management employee discovered their remains at the time while emptying the garbage cans, the Chicago Tribune reported.

An autopsy report at the time determined the babies had been born alive and died of asphyxiation. Their deaths were ruled homicides. 

Briley is accused of dumping her newborn twin boys in a trash bin in Stickney Township, Illinois in 2003 after authorities were able to link her DNA to the crime scene (pictured) 17 years later

Briley is accused of dumping her newborn twin boys in a trash bin in Stickney Township, Illinois in 2003 after authorities were able to link her DNA to the crime scene (pictured) 17 years later

The case however had gone cold until 2018 when authorities decided to reopen the investigation by using DNA evidence from the scene to track down the babies’ birth mother.

In July, after using genetic genealogy research to identify Briley as the potential mother, investigators traveled to Holland where they collected her DNA from a discarded cigarette butt. 

The evidence showed the DNA samples were a match, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Dominique Marshall said.

She was arrested in Cook County after authorities received a lead on her whereabouts. 

The Cook County Sheriff's Office announced the charges on Saturday. The case had gone cold until 2018 when authorities decided to reopen the investigation by using DNA evidence from the scene to track down the babies' birth mother

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office announced the charges on Saturday. The case had gone cold until 2018 when authorities decided to reopen the investigation by using DNA evidence from the scene to track down the babies’ birth mother

Briley appeared in Leighton Criminal Court on Saturday where prosecutors said she had quietly given birth in the bathtub of her grandparents’ home.

Marshall told the court Briley had said ‘both [babies] crying when they were born, but not crying so loud that neighbors could hear.’

She then ‘panicked’ and placed them in a duffel bag, intent on driving the baby boys to the hospital, before deciding to dump them instead.

Marshall told the court Briley had told herself ‘if nobody knew [about the births] … no one would ever know’.

One of the babies was found with its placenta still attached while the other’s was found inside a shoebox, according to Marshall.

Briley, who would have been 24 at the time, had allegedly placed the boys in the garbage bin before driving back home where she showered and got into bed.

‘She wishes she could take the whole day back,’ Marshall said of Briley, adding that she wished she had ‘kept going to the hospital.’

Briley was appointed a public defender, Courtney Smallwood, who revealed her client is the mother of a 12-year-old girl and has been an ‘active member of society’ who does not pose threat or a flight risk. 

She is being held on $15,000 bond and is due to appear in court again next week.

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