(WAVY/CNN/Meredith) -- It took 17 years, but authorities in Virginia finally cracked a cold case.

Chesapeake police arrested a woman for murder in the death of a newborn in 2003 – known as the “baby Daniel case.”

Almost 17 years to the day baby Daniel’s body was found, Chesapeake police charged Melissa Chrisman with his death.

Investigators say forensic testing led to Chrisman’s arrest, but they have not released her relationship to the baby.

A woman at the house where Chrisman reportedly lives did not want to comment.

An 11-year-old child found the newborn's frozen body abandoned in the snow at western branch park in 2003.

The infant was wearing an oversized diaper and wrapped in two blankets, the umbilical cord still attached.

News of the arrest came as a surprise for community resident Paul Garrity.

“When they said baby Daniel, my ears perked up because I remember the case really well. We live right down the street,” Garrity said.

Garrity's daughter attended school with the child who made the gruesome discovery.

“The young boy was in my daughter's class, so you know it just really, really hit hard,” Garrity said.

A memorial bench was later installed at the site where baby Daniel was found.

Garrity and others in the community never gave up hope that justice for the infant would come.

“I just knelt down and prayed and gave thanks to god. Hopefully there's closure,” Garrity said.

Chrisman was in court Wednesday for a hearing.

Copyright 2019 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. 

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.