Stacy Michelle Rabon, a 50-year-old woman, has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of her newborn daughter, whose stabbed body was discovered in a plastic bag in a South Carolina river in 1992. A York County jury found Rabon guilty of homicide by child abuse earlier this month. The charges were brought against her two years ago when her DNA sample, taken during a 2019 drug arrest, matched the DNA from the deceased infant.
Rabon, who will be eligible for parole starting in 2031 due to the sentencing laws in place in 1992, claimed that she gave the baby up to a couple after delivering her in a van near the Catawba River. However, prosecutors argued that this story was fabricated after her arrest. The infant was found wrapped in sheets inside a plastic bag in the river in August 1992, with evidence suggesting she had been stabbed at least 50 times. Whether the baby died from the stab wounds or suffocated in the bag remains unclear.
During the trial, York County Sheriff’s Deputy Lanelle Day, the detective who made the DNA link, stated, “Stacy Rabon threw her baby into that cold Catawba River — never looking back, abandoning her, keeping her secret for 29 years.” Rabon, expressing remorse, requested mercy and acknowledged the consequences of her poor decisions.
Circuit Court Judge Bill McKinnon deemed the life sentence appropriate, emphasizing the victim’s vulnerability. He stated, “A newborn comes into this world looking for its parents to protect it. This baby was stabbed more than 50 times.” Rabon’s defense attorney highlighted her transformation over the past three decades, noting her current health issues as she appeared in court in a wheelchair and required surgeries.
In 1992, the community referred to the deceased infant as “Baby Angel Hope” and laid her to rest.