23 years after baby was found dead on side of Fort Worth road, mother is charged

The baby, dubbed “Angel Baby Doe,” was found on the side of a road in November 2001 south of Fort Worth, Texas, by a man collecting cans.


A woman has been charged with manslaughter in a 23-year-old cold case in Texas involving a baby who was found dead on the side of a road.

Shelby Stotts was arrested Monday after DNA evidence matched her as the baby’s mother, the Texas attorney general’s office and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. The baby, dubbed “Angel Baby Doe,” was found in November 2001 by a man collecting cans south of Fort Worth.

The sheriff’s office, which initially responded to the scene, said that the baby was wrapped in a jacket and that its umbilical cord was still attached.

“Due to the circumstances surrounding Angel Baby Doe’s death, investigators deemed the child’s death the result of foul play,” the sheriff’s office said.

A sketch of Angel Baby Doe
A sketch of Angel Baby Doe, whose remains were found on the side of the road in Johnson County, Texas, in 2001.Johnson County Sheriff’s Office

County investigators submitted genetic material to a lab in The Woodlands, Texas, three years ago. Forensic scientists there were able to build a DNA profile for the baby, and an in-house genealogy team provided law enforcement with new leads.

The research led to Stotts, who was identified as the newborn’s mother. The state attorney general’s office secured an indictment against Stotts on a second-degree manslaughter charge.


The AG alleges that Stotts recklessly caused her daughter’s death after she left the infant on the side of the road without seeking proper medical care.

The indictment also alleges that the baby bled to death because her umbilical cord was not clamped.

“After more than twenty years, we are closer to securing justice for Angel Baby Doe and ensuring that the person responsible for this tragedy is held accountable,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in the statement.

Court records do not identify an attorney for Stotts, and no phone numbers are publicly listed for her.

Texas was among the first states to institute safe haven laws, which it calls “Baby Moses” laws, that allow mothers of newborns to safely leave their children with authorities while they remain anonymous. The law was passed in Texas in 1999, and many states have since adopted similar laws.

Safe haven laws were implemented to address the issues of child abandonment and infanticide. In most cases, new mothers can surrender their babies at specific locations — often police or fire departments — where authorities will then ensure the newborns receive medical care until they can be placed in foster or adoptive homes.

NBC Dallas Fort-Worth spoke with Steve Shaw, one of the original Johnson County detectives who investigated the case. He said the case remains “vivid” more than two decades later.

“It’s a baby, you know, and I had two kids,” Shaw said. “It just, this just ain’t right. It’s just not right.”

Stotts was working at Cleburne High School, not far from where the baby was found, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported. The Cleburne Independent School District said in a statement that it was aware of the allegations and that Stotts was no longer employed with the district.

“The District intends to follow Board Policy and state law and investigate the matter thoroughly,” the statement said. “Because this is a personnel matter, the District is unable to offer more details or comment further, pursuant to state law and board policy.”



Step into a world dedicated entirely to man's best friend - dogs. Our website is a treasure trove of heartwarming news, touching stories, and inspiring narratives centered around these incredible creatures. We invite you to join us in spreading the joy. Share our posts, stories, and articles with your friends, extending the warmth and inspiration to every corner.With a simple click, you can be part of this movement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *