Wednesday, March 03, 2004

A mother's intuition 

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- A fire that authorities six years ago thought killed a 10-day-old girl was a ruse to kidnap the infant, Philadelphia police said Monday.

The baby, Delimar Vera, was sleeping in the upstairs front bedroom when a fire broke out at her family's two-story row house in north Philadelphia on December 15, 1997.

And it gets even stranger: the mother managed to prove her daughter was alive when she saw the now-six year old at a birthday party and recognized her, then pretended to remove gum from the girl's hair in order to get some hair strands for DNA testing--which showed the girl was, indeed, her biological daughter.

Now granted, I don't know a hell of a lot about fire investigation, although I did cover it to some degree at grad school, but I do know that it takes a very high temperature to incinerate a human body. Crematoriums can only do their job at about 2000-3000 degrees celsius. House fires, however, almost never get that hot, so what on earth possessed the Philly police to declare the baby had been burned up in a fire? Something will invariably be left around, like teeth or bone or hair, but since that wasn't the case, well, no wonder the mother was suspicious.

Suffice it to say that this case was weird to begin with and no doubt will get weirder as it heads towards trial.

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