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Oak Ridge police to use DNA testing to identify infant found dead in a lake around 2 years ago

The newborn was found dead in Melton Hill Lake nearly 2 years ago. Investigators are still trying to figure out what happened to him.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — Oak Ridge Police Captain Mike Uher will never forget March 26, 2020.

"Myself and Lieutenant Hines recovered the baby from the water, brought him to the shore," Uher said. "If you're a human being, it's gonna bother you. That's all there is to it."

Uher said they found a newborn baby with his umbilical cord still attached in Melton Hill Lake. He said the infant was wrapped in an oversized shirt that had snagged on a rock. 

"I actually believe that baby was thrown off the bridge at Edgemoor Road because the baby was close to the bridge," Uher said. "I think the baby went down and floated back to the surface."

In the 2 years since the Oak Ridge Police Department has tried to find answers. In January, the department was approved for a grant that would pay for DNA testing of the infant, which they named Baby Wyatt.

Credit: Oak Ridge PD

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"It's going to search all of the databases for people who send in their DNA and maybe we'll get a hit," Uher said. "We'd like to have closure for the baby."

Investigators cannot give Baby Wyatt a proper burial until they determine who he really is. They said the DNA test will compare the infant's genetic code with other DNA samples collected over the years, hoping to match it with a possible sibling or parent.

"That baby deserves a proper burial. That baby deserves a name," Uher said. "We know they put Baby Wyatt on it, but it would be nice to have a real name."

Uher hopes they'll find a match through DNA testing so they can close this case. He said he and his colleagues are determined to make that happen.

"We realize things happen in people's lives that make them act out of character and do things that they normally wouldn't do," he said. "You have to have a heart for that ... but we still have a baby that was floating in the water and I'd like to solve it."

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