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Police get tips on river babies

Goodhue County authorities have received six more tips since releasing forensic images last month of three babies found dead between 1999 and 2007 in the Mississippi River near Red Wing.

"It's not as many tips as we would like," said Capt. Pat Thompson of the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office. "But I'm not saying I'm dissatisfied.

"I understand a number of years have passed in some cases," he added. "It's not as fresh in people's mind as it would be that day."

Some of the most recent tips -- none of them considered substantial by authorities -- came from as far away as northern Minnesota, Thompson said.

With public interest still high across the state, authorities say they have no intention of closing the cases.

Authorities still have at least one "promising lead" to work with.

Investigators are awaiting lab results from DNA taken from a woman who may be connected to the first two babies -- a girl found in 1999 and a boy found in 2003.

Police believe those two children were related.

The woman has denied any involvement. Authorities will know more in the coming weeks when the test results are expected back.

Thompson said tips continue to trickle in for all three cases, including last year's discovery near Prairie Island marina.

This month marks the one-year anniversary since two workers cleaning one of the marina's slips found the body of a baby girl.

Thompson said officers don't dwell on that date, March 26, but use it as a time to reflect.

"It's not a day we keep on our calendar ... but it's a way of marking progress for us," he said. "A few detectives have pictures of the children in their office to remind them."

While authorities still haven't nabbed those responsible for abandoning the three infants in the river, Thompson said they've made "successful progress" over the past year.

"There have been some questions that have been answered," he said. "We would be very satisfied if the case is solved, but we know that this going to be lengthy."

Several deputies spent a majority of the summer canvassing a large area in and around the Prairie Island Indian Community.

"We did get some information that could lead us to who this person is," Thompson said. "I don't think we're ever going to lose hope on these cases."

As for the images released in February depicting the babies, Thompson said they may eventually be used on posters, fliers and by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

That agency created the composite renderings, which represent how the children may have looked shortly after they were born.