Erin Udell, Fort Collins Coloradoan Published 10:46 a.m. MT Jan. 21, 2020 | Updated 11:21 a.m. MT Jan. 21, 2020
A preliminary hearing has been set for the Erie woman arrested late last year in Larimer County’s ‘Baby Faith’ homicide.
At a disposition hearing Tuesday morning, Jennifer Katalinich’s attorney David Mestas asked Eighth Judicial District Judge Susan Blanco to set Katalinich’s next hearing at least 75 days out, citing “further discovery” in the case that needs to be investigated.
Her preliminary hearing was set for 1:30 p.m. April 8. Katalinich’s other attorney, Andy Gavaldon, declined to comment on his client’s case Tuesday.
Katalinich, 42, was arrested Nov. 5 and charged with first-degree murder of a victim under 12 in a position of trust and second-degree murder. Both charges are related to the homicide of Baby Faith, an unidentified newborn girl whose body washed up on Horsetooth Reservoir’s rocky shores in a garbage bag on Aug. 24, 1996.
Katalinich, who was known as Jennifer Tjornehoj when Baby Faith died, has not entered a plea in the case. Tjornehoj is Katalinich’s maiden name
Katalinich’s arrest came roughly seven months after the Colorado Bureau of Investigation assisted the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office by re-typing the infant’s DNA and inputting it into a public genealogy database — the same method that led California investigators to the suspected Golden State Killer in 2018.
Though forensic genealogy ultimately led investigators to Katalinich, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office has repeatedly declined to release whether the woman is Baby Faith’s mother.
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The same day Katalinich surrendered and was booked into the Larimer County Jail, she posted her $25,000 cash bond, turned in her passport and was released. She will remain out on bond until her preliminary hearing, Judge Blanco said in court Tuesday.
Though underweight, Baby Faith was born alive, Larimer County Coroner’s Office reported at the time of her death. Her umbilical cord was still attached, and she died within three days of her birth, investigators estimated. Her cause of death was listed as asphyxiation.
After news spread of her death and discovery, the Northern Colorado community named the girl Faith and purchased a headstone for her in Fort Collins’ Roselawn Cemetery.
At the time of Faith’s death, Katalinich was an 18-year-old incoming sophomore at Colorado State University.
During the 1995-96 school year, Katalinich was a resident of university dormitory Westfall Hall, according to CSU’s Silver Spruce yearbook. Starting in fall 1996, Fort Collins city directories indicate she lived in various off-campus houses and apartments until graduating with a wildlife biology degree in 1999.
Katalinich had previously lived in Longmont and is a 1995 graduate of Niwot High School, according to yearbooks from that time.
At a Nov. 5 news conference to announce Katalinich’s arrest, former sheriff’s office investigation sergeant Andy Josey recounted what it was like responding to the call that a baby had been discovered at Horsetooth Reservoir.
“What I know is this: I came to know a newborn girl who was left by choice, not by chance,” Josey said. “I knew then, as I know today, she didn’t deserve to be left alone.”
“We could only do so much then (in 1996),” he added. “Now, science and investigators that care have advanced the cause: the cause to identify Baby Faith and to seek what justice we can. I am grateful for those that have picked up the torch and will carry it to cast light upon the darkness that hid the truth of who Baby Faith is.”
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