Pinedale woman charged in decades old murder of newborn

Mugshot of Nancy Ann Gerwatowski courtesy of Sublette County Detention Center and copy of out-of-state felony arrest warrant issued by the Mackinac County, Michigan Sheriff's Office.

Sublette County, Wyo. — A Pinedale woman remains in custody at the Sublette County Jail following her July 12, 2022 arrest for a felony homicide charge stemming from a 25-year-old cold case out of Mackinac County, Michigan.

Nancy Ann Gerwatowski, 59, was picked up on an out-of-state warrant for a single count of homicide for the alleged murder of “Baby Garnet,” an infant discovered dead in a Michigan outhouse by a sanitation worker in late June 1997. Gerwatowski would have been about 34 years old at the time. According to Mackinac County Sheriff Edward Wilk, forensic genetic genealogy provided investigators with family bloodlines related to the decedent’s birth mother in 2017. Michigan law enforcement officials nicknamed the infant “Baby Garnet,” after the Garnet Lake Campground where her body was discovered a quarter-century ago.

Last week, Michigan investigators traveled to Sublette County where they interviewed Gerwatowski. According to Sheriff Wilk, the woman confirmed she was the child’s biological mother and offered “additional statements that provided probable cause to arrest her on the charge of Homicide-Open Murder.”

Gerwatowski was seen in Sublette County Circuit Court for an initial appearance last week, and is scheduled to appear again for a status hearing on July 21. The Sublette Examiner reached out to Gerwatwoski’s attorney, public defender Rachel Weksler, who said that her client is unlikely to fight extradition back to Michigan, where the alleged crime was committed. When asked how Gerwatowski is handling being charged with a 25-year-old murder, Weksler said, “This is a scary and devastating time” for her client.

Gerwatwoski could choose to waive extradition, in which case she would be transported to Michigan without the need for the upcoming status hearing. It could take up to 30 days to authorize the extradition and arrange for transport.

The Sublette Examiner uncovered a portion of an autopsy conducted on the child’s body in Grand Rapids, Michigan 25 years ago. Testing revealed the infant had gestated for at least 38 weeks and was near full-term, having been conceived in September 1996. The Mining Journal reported at the time that no umbilical cord was found. Although the woman is charged with murder, nothing in the public record indicates whether the child was stillborn or what caused her death.

The small county of 11,000 people, where the infant’s body was discovered, raised money to bury the infant at Hudson Township, Michigan Cemetery. A funeral was held in September 1997. The girl is interred there today, and area residents routinely bring flowers to her gravesite, marked by a headstone engraved with the epitaph, “Baby Girl Garnet 1997,” alongside an angel.

Criminal charges are often dropped or reduced, and Gerwatwoski is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The Sublette Examiner and Pinedale Roundup will continue to provide updates in this developing story.

TRENDING RECIPE VIDEOS

More In Local News