Pinedale woman arraigned in Michigan murder case

SCSO courtesy photo of Nancy Ann Gerwatowski.

Pinedale — The Sublette County woman accused of leaving her newborn infant to die in a vault toilet at a Mackinac County campground in 1997 has been transported to Michigan to answer to the charge of felony homicide. Nancy Ann Gerwatowski, 59, was arrested in Pinedale on July 12, 2022, waived extradition and made her first appearance in a Mackinac County, Mich. courtroom 19 days later on July 31 where she was denied bond, according to the Mackinac County Sheriff’s Office.

A forensic genealogist connected Gerwatowski to “Baby Garnet” more than two decades after the alleged murder took place.

Gerwatowski would have been about 34 years old at the time.

When Michigan investigators traveled to Sublette County in mid-July 2022, Gerwatowski reportedly 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,” Mackinac County Sheriff Edward Wilk said in a press release.

When asked how Gerwatowski is handling being charged with a quarter-century-old murder, her public defender Rachel Weksler said, “This is a scary and devastating time” for her client.

As previously reported, a portion of an autopsy conducted on the child’s body in Grand Rapids, Michigan 25 years ago 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 a sanitation worker discovered the baby’s body, raised money to bury the infant at Hudson Township, Michigan Cemetery. A funeral was held in September 1997. The newborn’s remains are 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.

Gerwatowski is expected make her next appearance in Mackinac County court on Aug. 9, 2022.