By Rich Pollack
For 4 1/2 years, the identity of “Baby June” and the questions of how her tiny 2-day-old infant body ended up floating in the Boynton Inlet remained a mystery.
Despite relentless efforts by Palm Beach County Sheriff’s detectives searching for anyone who knew anything and tracking tip after tip to frustrating dead ends, there was little to go on.
Now thanks to the latest advances in DNA analysis technology using public databases, detectives have the answers to questions that have long eluded them: A Boynton Beach woman — the mother of Baby June — is in custody on first-degree murder charges.
Last month, after an extensive investigation that included a covert DNA collection, sheriff’s detectives arrested 29-year-old Arya Singh and charged her with tossing the baby she had on May 30, 2018, into the ocean.
“There have been a lot of question marks about Baby June’s death and now we have an idea of what happened,” said lead detective Brittany Christoffel of the sheriff’s cold case unit. “It’s nice to have some answers.”
Christoffel said that the baby was a surprise to her mother and was thrown into the ocean shortly after she was born.
“She didn’t know she was pregnant up until the time she gave birth,” Christoffel said. “When the baby was born, she wasn’t sure if she was alive or dead, and that was that. By the time the baby went into the inlet, she was already deceased.”
Ruled a homicide
However, the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office, according to court records, concluded that Baby June died of asphyxiation and ruled the death a homicide.
“Physical and toxicological findings support that infant was born alive and in a health care environment,” the medical examiner’s report said.
Investigators, according to published reports, believe that Baby June was born in a hotel room and discovered that Singh had searched online for hotels in the Boynton area eight times during a two-hour period the morning of May 30, the day the baby was born.
The infant was found by an off-duty Boynton Beach firefighter two days later, on June 1, and given the name Baby June by investigators.
Detectives believe that Singh acted alone and kept the birth of the baby and her actions in the aftermath a secret from most, including the baby’s father, a former boyfriend.
“She was fully responsible for the baby ending up in the Boynton Inlet,” Christoffel said.
Genetic testing technology gave detectives their first real break in the high-profile case.
Using forensic genetic genealogy — the same technology used to identify the Golden State Killer in California a few years ago — members of the sheriff’s forensic biology unit were able to identify relatives of the father.
Armed with the lead — gathered in part through a public database — detectives met with the father, who led them to Singh.
“He knew nothing about the baby,” Christoffel said.
Building a case
Once the mother was identified and DNA evidence collected, investigators began building their case with search warrants that gave them access to Singh’s computer searches and GPS tracking information.
Court records show that detectives used Google location data to document her movements on the day the baby was born and discovered that she was at a lifeguard stand just south of the inlet shortly after 9:30 that night and stayed in the area until 10 p.m.
They also found that Singh had conducted numerous searches of news sites for about a month after Baby June was discovered.
In August, shortly after Singh was identified as a suspect, DNA found by undercover detectives on a discarded coffee cup confirmed that Singh was indeed the mother of Baby June.
Investigators did a subsequent DNA test and conducted several interviews to be certain of their findings before filing charges against Singh.
In court records, Christoffel said that the scientific evidence combined with information from the searches made it possible for her to conclude Singh was responsible for the baby’s death.
That Singh remained silent while detectives conducted extensive searches for the mother of the baby, also helped her reach that conclusion.
“At no time has Arya Singh reported her child missing to law enforcement,” Christoffel wrote.