Reward offered for arrest in Baby June case, baby found dead off Florida coast

AP logo
Friday, June 8, 2018
Reward offered to find parents, ID Baby June, found dead off Florida coast
EMBED <>More Videos

One week after a newborn baby girl's body was found floating off the Florida coast, detectives are still trying to unravel the mystery of how she died and how she got in the water.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- One week after a newborn baby girl's body was found floating off the Florida coast, a reward is being offered to find out how she died and how she got in the water.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said Thursday that the dead infant, now known as "Baby June," is believed to have been 4-7 days old and floating in the water for around 6-18 hours. Police believe Baby June originated from Broward County.

Police said Baby June was most likely born around May 25-28.

"I don't want to say much more about how we've arrived at this theory, but I stand here before you today asking for Broward County's assistance, especially the public, in identifying this baby and her parents," Captain Steve Strivelli said.

On Friday, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw offered a reward to find those responsible for the baby's death.

"The death of #BabyJune has really struck a nerve with me," he tweeted. That's why I am offering a $10,000 reward for anyone with any information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for the death of #BabyJune. Someone has to know something. It's time to come forward."

Stravelli had said Monday that it's unknown whether the child floating about 100 feet off the Boynton Beach Inlet on Friday was alive when she was placed in the water. Autopsy results are pending.

He said the baby was no more than 2 weeks old and was likely black, Hispanic or multiracial, but could have been Caucasian with dark skin. She wore no clothing.

Forensic artist rendering. Not actual photo of child.
Credit: Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office

"We have actually tried our best to identify the nationality of the child, but we cannot rule out anyone," Stravelli said. He said DNA testing is being done.

The baby appeared to be of healthy weight but Stravelli declined to say whether there were signs of abuse. He said it's also unclear whether the baby was placed in the water from a boat, by someone wading into the water or tossed from shore or a nearby bridge.

He said it is also possible she had been on a boat bringing immigrants illegally from Cuba, Haiti or elsewhere. The area is a frequent landing spot.

The baby was discovered June 1 by Boynton Beach firefighter Chris Lemieux, who was fishing with two friends when they saw what they thought was a doll floating in the water.

Lemieux told The Palm Beach Post that they motored over to the baby, which was clearly dead. He said an 18-year-old friend on the boat is about to begin paramedic school, so he used it as a teachable moment.

"I had a talk with him. (I said) 'you're probably going to see stuff like this in the future,'" Lemieux told the paper. "It's part of the career as a firefighter/paramedic that we run into stuff like that. He understood what I was saying. I made sure he was OK."

Lemieux said, "It just blows my mind that you see stuff like that ... you think how the heck could somebody do something? I don't know the situation, but you go through it in your mind: How'd it happen?"

Stravelli said anyone with information should call 561-688-4155.