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Woman arrested in 1992 cold case homicide of infant ‘Angel Hope’ in South Carolina

The baby was named Angel Hope, rather than Baby Jane Doe, by members of the community.
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 2:43 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2021 at 4:44 PM EDT
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YORK COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - An arrest has been made in a 29-year-old cold case involving the death of an infant.

Three things to know:

  • The homicide took place in 1992
  • It was reexamined in 2020
  • The community paid for the baby’s funeral and gravesite

Stacy Michelle Costner Rabon, 48, of Rock Hill, S.C. was arrested and charged with homicide by child abuse for the death of a baby in 1992 that was found floating in the Catawba River.

Stacy Michelle Costner Rabon
Stacy Michelle Costner Rabon(York County Sheriff's Office)

The body of a baby was found floating on the Catawba River between Rock Hill and Fort Mill on Aug. 12, 1992. She was only hours old when she died. The baby was found wrapped in a bedsheet, inside of a plastic shopping bag, floating in the Catawba River by a swimmer near the Highway 21 Bridge.

The funeral of baby Angel Hope, who was killed when she was only hours old.
The funeral of baby Angel Hope, who was killed when she was only hours old.(York County Sheriff's Office)

She had stab wounds, but the coroner’s report determined that death was the result of suffocation, and not drowning or the stabbings.

Detectives reexamined the case in October 2020 and were able to submit DNA from the bed sheet that held the baby to the York County Forensic Biology Lab for testing. Results from this DNA testing identified Rabon as a suspect and deputies were eventually able to obtain a warrant for her arrest for homicide by child abuse.

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“I am very thankful for the hard work of our detectives and DNA analysts. Their dedication and ability to work cooperatively has led to the closure of a case that has haunted our community for years,” said York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson. “While nothing can right this terrible wrong, there is some comfort in knowing that justice will be served thanks to the men and women who worked on this case.”

The grave site of baby Angel Hope, which was paid for by the community as well as her funeral.
The grave site of baby Angel Hope, which was paid for by the community as well as her funeral.(York County Sheriff's Office)

In 1992 the baby was named Angel Hope, rather than Baby Jane Doe, by members of the community who also paid for her burial expenses. Angel Hope is buried at the Forest Hills Cemetery, Section 4, in Rock Hill, S.C.

Rabon is being held at the York County Detention Center.

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