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Accused baby killer 'confessed' to friend

AAP logoAAP 8/01/2017 Christine Flatley and Melissa Grant

A woman accused of killing her newborn baby boy more than 20 years ago has been charged with manslaughter after allegedly confessing to a friend.

Maria Lena Raymond, 43, is also facing charges of misconduct with regards to a corpse and concealing the birth of a child over the infant's gruesome death.

She was charged on Monday morning and later granted bail in the Cairns Magistrates Court.

Detective Inspector Geoff Marsh said detectives waited two decades for the right piece of information before a woman came forward in December claiming the accused had admitted to the crime.

"That person was obviously known to the lady, and the lady had divulged to this person over the years in relation to the incident," he said.

"The investigation has never lost traction.

"It was information from the community which has resulted in this matter being now finalised."

He said a DNA test had positively identified the woman as the mother of the child.

The infant's mutilated body was in a Cairns driveway on May 4, 1996 and police at the time believed the baby, who was around two days old, had been drowned, cut in half with a sharp instrument and dumped.

The torso was believed to have been dragged to the driveway by dogs and the lower half of the boy's body has never been found.

Det Insp Marsh said the case could rely heavily on the conversations between the accused and the informant as well as the DNA evidence.

He said a $250,000 reward for information is still on offer.

Raymond's case is due to return to court on April 5.

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