November 17, 1989
The burned body of an infant girl is found near a landfill
WARNING: some of the details of this article are graphic.
A stranded motorist and his young son found a discarded metal drum near the Minidoka County landfill. Within the drum was the charred remains of an infant. The son did not seem to recognize the shape in the tub, which was obscured by the dim evening light, but his father did. The pair returned home and the motorist waited until his son fell asleep for the night before reporting the body to the sheriffs.
Examination of the baby’s body revealed she was either Caucasian or Hispanic with light skin, and around 3 weeks old. Fragments of clothing were draped over her left shoulder. Medical examinations revealed the infant was dead before her body was lit on fire due to the absence of carbon in her throat, and had also been disemboweled before the burning which was evidenced by the lack of carbon traces of her organs, though her lungs and a portion of her heart remained. The body was missing both feet as well as the right arm which had been severed at the shoulder, and she had possibly been skinned. The missing body parts were not found despite a search of the area. It was not determined how the infant died, or whether she had endured dismemberment and/or disembowelment while alive.
The infant was given the name Baby X for reference in the press and case files.
Theories emerged quickly regarding how the child had found her way into such a bleak grave. Common theories involved an unwanted birth, or a baby who died of natural causes and was disposed of hastily by her panicked family. The most prominent theory, however, involved a ritual killing.
The occult angle of the story gained momentum in 1990 when a young boy in California, identified by the pseudonym “Timothy,” was interviewed during an investigation into alleged child abuse. Timothy drew several pictures (including the one pictured) of ritualistic abuse. During investigations it was found Timothy had been in Rupert, Idaho at the time of Baby X’s death. Timothy talked of sacrifices of cats and babies, carried out by 18 adults, noted “the devil is there” at the rituals, and that his parents watched the events unfold. Timothy’s statements were not further examined by investigators due to a lack of evidence, with one investigator stating “his statements were incoherent and difficult to follow.” Timothy’s case was also investigated by child welfare officials, though the results of their investigation is not public.
Investigators also examined an anonymous letter postmarked from eastern Idaho with no return address, sent shortly after the baby’s discovery. The South Idaho Press (Sept. 13, 1991), later printed the letter, copied here verbatim:
“I understand that no leads have been found in the Baby X Case. Stop looking at hospital records and assuming that the mother was aware of what happened to her baby. In the last year of the beast in 1975 time period I was a victim many times of Satanists in the Burley, Rupert and Murtaugh area.
“Know that in many cases women were used as Breeders for the seed of satan. Many times, due to the amount of drugs used to keep them in line, the babies are born severely retarded. Many made only mewing sounds. Babies were born in the compound and no records were ever kept. Many times the mothers only lived in a nightmare world and cannot tell you about their child, or believe it was all dreams. I know.
“Babies are not dead before disemboweling. Many times a curved incision was used. Sometimes an incision up the sternum through the heart area. The heart was then taken out. This was always done to a live child.
“Sometimes other mutations occurred before death also. Including, if male, the genitals were mutilated and cut off. The females, a blade of the knife was inserted or some sharp, pointed object was put inside causing a large amount of blood to flow which was then put in a crucible.
“The arms and legs were sometimes pulled off at the joints by a twisting motion.
“I don’t know if this helps you at all, but it does help me to tell you. If I was to give you my name, my life and that of my family would be in serious jeopardy.”
It’s worth noting that, while the press latched onto the Satanic and occult theories, there was a lack of any ritualistic accoutrements, such as symbols, artifacts, or posing of Baby X’s body.
Hodges, Stan H. and Ulsperger, Jason S. “A HISTORICAL AND THEORETICAL LOOK AT RITUAL ABUSE LAWS PART II: APPLYING AN INTEGRATED CONFLICT MODEL ANALYSIS TO THE IDAHO BABY X CASE.” Free Inquiry In Creative Sociology. Vol. 36, No. 2. November 2008. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8d8b/182e88422c69b5c8b47c24d9719890357774.pdf
Siegel, Barry. “Idaho Gothic : Other American Towns Have Been Haunted by Rumors of Rampant Satanism and Human Sacrifice. But Rupert, Idaho, Is Different. Rupert, Idaho, Has the Body of Baby X.” Los Angeles Times. May 17, 1992
Clark, Christopher. “Baby X developments in case listed to date.” South Idaho Press. September 16, 1991
Clark, Christopher. “Boy’s graphic drawing may be linked to case.” South Idaho Press [Burley, Idaho]. September 13, 1991
Clark, Christopher. “Letter describes Satanic rituals in Mini-Cassia.” South Idaho Press. September 13, 1991
“More details emerge in killing of ‘Baby X’.” Spokane Chronicle. December 8, 1989
“Skeletal remains of newborn found by stranded motorist.” The Spokesman-Review Spokane Chronicle. November 19, 1989