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Conditional bail reduced to $150K for Red Wing woman charged in 2003 cold case

On Wednesday morning, May 25, 2022, Judge Douglas C. Bayley ordered that conditional bail for 50-year-old Jennifer Lynn Matter, be lowered from $750,000 to $150,000.

Jennifer Lynn Matter.jpg
Jennifer Lynn Matter.
Contributed / Goodhue County Sheriff's Office
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RED WING — A Goodhue County District Court judge ordered that the conditional bail amount be reduced for the Red Wing woman charged in the death of a newborn baby boy whose body was found in Lake Pepin nearly two decades ago.

On Wednesday morning, May 25, 2022, Judge Douglas C. Bayley ordered that conditional bail for 50-year-old Jennifer Lynn Matter, be lowered from $750,000 to $150,000. Unconditional bail remains at $1.5 million.

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The decision came after Matter's attorney, John Leunig, argued that Matter was not a flight risk, nor would her release endanger public safety. Assistant Goodhue County Attorney Erin Kuester asked that Bayley deny the reduction request.

Matter is charged in Goodhue County District Court with two counts of second-degree murder.

On May 9, 2022, the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension announced that Matter was arrested in connection to the death of a newborn baby boy whose body was found in Lake Pepin in 2003.

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Matter was allegedly identified through DNA as the child’s mother.

Two babies, both linked to suspect through DNA, were found dead in 1999 and 2003. A newborn boy was found in Lower Boat Harbor in Red Wing, and a newborn girl was found in Lake Pepin.

Four years before the discovery of the baby boy’s body, a newborn baby girl was found dead in the Lower Boat Harbor of the Mississippi River near Red Wing. That child was also determined through DNA to be Matter’s child. Matter has not been charged in connection with that death.

In handing down his decision Wednesday, Bayley said the bail amount would not be what "either side wants" but that the release conditions could protect the public safety, ensure that Matter makes it to court when she is supposed to and respect both sides "as far as the severity of charges go and the presumption of innocence."

Leunig earlier told the court that Matter's family would likely be able to come up with $5,000 for bail.

Matter's next court hearing is scheduled for July 20 at 9 a.m.

DNA analysis produces leads in at least in one of the cases.

Emily Cutts is the Post Bulletin's public safety reporter. She joined the Post Bulletin in July 2018 after stints in Vermont and Western Massachusetts.
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