Former U.P. woman to stand trial for 1997 murder of ‘Baby Garnet’

LANSING — A former U.P. woman will stand trial for the murder of an infant in 1997.

The Honorable Beth Ann Gibson of the 92nd District Court in St. Ignace bound over Nancy Gerwatowski, 60, formerly of Newberry, to stand trial for the cold-case murder of an infant discovered 27 years ago. Gerwatowski is charged with one count each of Open Murder, Involuntary Manslaughter, and Concealing the Death of an Individual. Open Murder is a potential life-sentence offense.

In June of 1997, the remains of a deceased infant were discovered in a campground pit toilet at the Garnet Lake Campground in the Upper Peninsula’s Hudson Township. An autopsy at the time determined the body to have been a “term or near-term infant” 36-42 weeks old. The Mackinac County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police investigated the death throughout the summer and autumn of 1997, though no witnesses or viable leads were developed. The deceased came to be known as ‘Baby Garnet.’

In 2017, investigative efforts were renewed when a Michigan State Police detective sergeant initiated familial genetic genealogical tracing with the assistance of a private laboratory and the Federal Bureau of Investigations, who by this time possessed skeletal remains of Baby Garnet. A lab received remains to test in 2020, and in 2022 a DNA profile was developed and returned indicating a specific familial lineage. These results led investigators to Nancy Gerwatowski, then living in Pinedale, Wyoming, and additional DNA testing of Gerwatowski obtained via a search warrant confirmed her parentage.

The state alleges Gerwatowski delivered the newborn alone at her Newberry home, during which Baby Garnet died due to asphyxiation, and that this death could have been prevented by medical intervention Gerwatowski did not seek. She then, allegedly, concealed the deceased newborn in an outhouse at the campground in Hudson, more than 20 miles out of town.

“Thanks to the incredible efforts of investigators across three decades, we are finally able to pursue justice for Baby Garnet more than 25 years after her tragic death,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “In 1997, genetics testing was nowhere near as sophisticated as it is today, and I am grateful for the work of detectives and responders on-scene to preserve vital evidence in this matter. Prosecutors in my office are able to bring about this long-delayed criminal trial because of twenty-seven years of sound police work, scientific advancement, evidence preservation, and diligent state and local detectives who never gave up on justice for this infant victim.”

Gerwatowski will next appear before the 11th Circuit Court in Mackinac County, at a date not yet set by the court. She remains released on bond with a GPS tether.


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