10 May 2022
GOODHUE COUNTY, Minn. (WCCO) — Bail has been set for a 50-year-old Red Wing woman accused in the death of a baby found in Lake Pepin almost 20 years ago.
On Tuesday in Goodhue County, Jennifer Matter’s bail was set at $1.5 million without conditions and $750,000 with conditions. On the reasoning for high bail, the judge said that it’s a very serious case, and that there are risks of fleeing, self-harm and abuse of alcohol and/or controlled substances.
Matter faces second-degree murder charges in the case of a deceased baby boy discovered at the Methodist Campus Beach in Frontenac in December 2003. According to the complaint, Matter said she left the baby on the beach before driving away, and said she did not have a plan about leaving the baby in a safe place, but “hoped that someone in the nearby houses would find the baby.”
Investigators say that another baby, a girl found in the Mississippi River’s Lower Boat Harbor near Red Wing back in 1999, is also Matter’s, as proven by genealogy work. The charges announced Monday do not involve that case, and further charges may follow.
At the bail hearing, Matter was visibly upset and in tears at times. She said she wanted to “beg forgiveness for something she did in the past” before the judge reminded her that she wasn’t on trial just yet.
Matter didn’t have an attorney during the hearing and is trying to hire one. She was denied a public defender at the hearing because she didn’t provide enough information on the application.
A second court date, which will be a continued first hearing, was scheduled for May 25 to allow Matter to find an attorney.
Matter was taken into custody Monday. Law enforcement officials credited the hard work of investigators and scientific advances in solving the decades-old case.
If convicted, Matter faces 40 years in prison.