Baby Angel's grave

10 years later, still looking for answers in Baby Angel’s death




This Sunday marks 10 years since a newborn baby girl was found in the Mississippi River, gone before she had a chance at life. If she were alive today, she would be heading back to school to start fifth grade. Investigators are still seeking information in the unsolved case of her death. It remains a tragedy they can’t forget.

“I still remember getting the phone call and responding down to the campground on the riverside,” Sheriff Ron Ganrude recalled. “It’s one of those calls that you get that you just can’t believe you’re responding to at the time, and even afterward, it’s hard to put out of your mind.”

The unidentified infant came to be known as Baby Angel for the angel figurines found with her in a bag floating down the river. Winona County Sheriff’s Office investigators ran DNA tests on Baby Angel and numerous subjects over the years, but never found a match. Who Baby Angel’s parents were, and why she was left in the river remains unknown. If she were alive today, she might be heading back to school to start fifth grade.

“We’ve had plenty of leads, we’ve had plenty of calls, but none of them have panned out, and even in the last couple of years, we got information again to follow up on, but actually when we looked at the old reports and old case files, we’d already followed up on what these people are now telling us,” Ganrude said. “So it’s just kind of going around and around, but we obviously haven’t gotten that big lead, that one that leads us to closure on this.”

Dave Brand was sheriff in 2011, when Baby Angel was recovered and laid to rest. He retired in 2014, but couldn’t leave this case behind so easily. “It keeps me thinking every day what the circumstances were behind this and why it happened … This little girl never had a chance to have a decent life and grow up with other kids,” he said. Brand added, “There’s somebody out there who, of course, knows what happened, and I just wish they would come forward so we could put closure on this case.”

Anyone with information regarding Baby Angel may call the Winona Area Crime Stoppers’ tip line at 507-457-6530, submit an anonymous tip online at, or call the sheriff’s office at 507-457-6368.

Hopefully someone gives us that piece of information we’ve been looking for all these years,” Ganrude said.