Breakthrough In “Baby Theresa” Case Could Change Penalties For Concealing A Child’s Death

(Theresa) Two Dodge County politicians are introducing legislation that would increase the penalties for not reporting the death of a child. Representative Mark Born of Beaver Dam and Senator John Jagler of Watertown authored the bill following a breakthrough in the “Baby Theresa” case.  

Karin Luttinen of Milwaukee was charged Friday with Concealing the Death of a Child. The 45-year-old is accused of placing her deceased baby in a garbage bag then leaving the infant in a secluded area in the Town of Theresa nearly 13 years ago.  

Dodge County Medical Examiner PJ Schoebel says the incident was a (quote) “fetal demise”, meaning there was no evidence to support “Baby Theresa” was murdered. He says the child may have died prior to, or during birth.  

In a joint statement, Born and Jagler say the gravity of this crime is not reflected in the statutory penalty which is far weaker than similar offences. Concealing the Death of a Child carries a maximum penalty of one-and-a-half years in prison.  

Born and Jagler’s bill would increase that charge to a Class F Felony which carries a possible prison term of seven-and-a-half years. That penalty is in line with felony Hiding a Corpse. A charge that was not available to prosecutors in this case because there was insufficient evidence to support the child was born alive.  

Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg says he reached out to both Born and Jagler once he came across the discrepancy in penalties for concealing a child’s death. The DA says he was (quote) “surprised” to discover the charge for Concealing the Death of a Child, given the range of behavior covered by the statute, was so different from other charges related to Hiding a Corpse. 

Klomberg says he is glad this issue is being addressed and is grateful for Born and Jagler’s attention on this matter. He says his hope is that their legislation is passed and becomes a law in Wisconsin. Klomberg adds it should come to be known as “Baby Theresa’s” law. 

Born and Jagler say they are thankful for the incredible detectives who have worked tirelessly on this case, which has captivated the hearts of residents in the community and throughout Wisconsin. 

Click HERE to watch video of the joint press conference were the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office, Medical Examiner’s Office, and the District Attorney’s Office announce charges in the “Baby Theresa” case.