Former Lancaster Woman Found Guilty of 2007 “Baby Mary Anne’s” Murder

Tara BrazzleTara Brazzle /Submitted Image

LANCASTER, PA — An Indiana and former Lancaster woman was convicted Tuesday of third-degree murder in the death of “Baby Mary Anne” and was sentenced to 5 ½ to 20 years in prison by Lancaster County Judge Merrill Spahn.

Tara Brazzle, 46 of Valparaiso, Ind., entered an “Alford plea,” whereby she acknowledged the Commonwealth had sufficient evidence to convict her of third-degree murder, but she didn’t specifically admit to the conduct. The plea is treated the same as a conviction.

Brazzle must also pay $4,846.62 for special costs of prosecution regarding the DNA laboratory fees.

Baby Mary Anne – who was approximately 36 weeks gestation – was found dead on Sept. 24, 2007, in a large trash dumpster in the parking lot of YMCA’s former location at 572 N. Queen Street. Brazzle, who went by Tara Indrakosit at the time, worked at the YMCA.

The Lancaster County Coroner’s Office determined the baby was born alive and died of complications of asphyxia.

“While there is a triable issue as to the specific manner in how the baby was asphyxiated, the defendant agrees that the Commonwealth at trial would present sufficient evidence upon which a jury could convict her of, at least, third-degree murder,” First Assistant District Attorney Todd Brown said during the proceeding. “Specifically, at minimum, the conduct of the defendant secreting both the pregnancy and delivery of the baby and not seeking any medical attention or assistance and ultimately disposing of the baby in the manner she did provides a basis upon which a malicious killing could be found.”

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The agreement was made in consultation with Baby Mary Anne’s father, who was present in the courtroom, and the Lancaster City Bureau of Police, which led the exhaustive investigation.

“This resolution takes into account this triable issue of fact, while also bringing closure to many in both the civilian and law enforcement community who were affected by this event in 2007 and also holds the defendant accountable – albeit some 15 years later – for her actions that led to the death of her child,” Brown said.

Lancaster City Bureau of Police Detectives conducted an in-depth investigation in the homicide through leads and tips from the public, press releases and requests for information, multiple subject interviews, and routine DNA checks for matches to the mother of Baby Mary Anne. Despite these efforts, the case went cold.

Sergeant Randell Zook took over the case as lead investigator in 2016, when new DNA investigation techniques had become available. The DNA evidence collected in the case was submitted to Parabon NanoLabs, which had become well-known for combining genetic analysis with genealogical research to determine the ancestry of a victim or defendant.

Sergeant Zook and Parabon were able to piece together that Brazzle was the mother of Baby Mary Anne after the baby’s DNA was uploaded into a public genetic genealogy database in Nov. 2018 and revealed a second cousin.

Sergeant Zook and Detective Jessica Higgins then interviewed Brazzle at her home in Valparaiso, Ind., on July 1, 2021, when Brazzle admitted to being the mother of the baby and giving birth at her former residence in Ronks, Strasburg Township, Lancaster County. Brazzle stated she knew she was pregnant, failed to seek any prenatal care, and did not provide medical care to the baby after giving birth before placing the baby in the YMCA dumpster several days later.

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She was not immediately arrested as investigators hoped to determine whether anyone assisted Brazzle in the homicide or disposal of the baby. An arrest warrant was quickly obtained when investigators learned Brazzle boarded a plane to Calif. the morning after speaking with police.

She was not immediately arrested as investigators hoped to determine whether anyone assisted Brazzle in the homicide or disposal of the baby. An arrest warrant was quickly obtained when investigators learned Brazzle boarded a plane to Calif. the morning after speaking with police.

The Pennsylvania State Police, Porter County Sheriff’s Department in Indiana, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and San Jose Police Department in California assisted in the investigation.

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