It was a snowy day, and kids were home from school.
Rafael Cabrera, then 11, went to a friend's house to play. But when the friend wasn't home, he followed his footprints in the snow, toward Western Branch Park.
It was Jan. 17, 2003. Cabrera lost his friend's prints but picked up on animal tracks, tracing them to a wooded area, he'd recall years later in an interview with the city's WCTV television channel.
That's when he noticed a pile of snow, with something blue underneath.
He peeled back layers of blankets to find a newborn boy, dead in the cold.
Scared and alone, Cabrera ran for help and waved down a car. A woman dialed 911.
Investigators called the child "Baby Daniel."
For 17 years, the newborn's death went unsolved, eventually added to a list of the city's other cold cases.
On Tuesday, a Chesapeake Circuit Court grand jury indicted Melissa Sue Chrisman, 41, on charges of felony murder and felony child abuse and neglect in the case, police said.
Officer Leo Kosinski, police spokesman, declined to identify Chrisman's relation to the child.
Chrisman was in custody at the city jail Tuesday afternoon. Police announced the charges in a YouTube video. The case was featured last year on WCTV and the city's YouTube channel as part of an ongoing series about Chesapeake cold case homicides.
A search warrant affidavit filed in November in Portsmouth sheds some light on what may have led police to an arrest all these years later. In July, a Chesapeake detective recently assigned to the cold case sent two blankets to a state forensic lab for testing, the court document says.
In November, a certificate of analysis from the lab showed DNA was detected on one of them, a light blue "McBaby" blanket. Chrisman was listed on the certificate of analysis as having a DNA profile "consistent with a possible contributor," the search warrant affidavit says. Police sought the search warrant to collect a DNA sample from Chrisman.
Baby Daniel was found wrapped in two blankets, wearing an oversized diaper. His umbilical cord was still attached, Detective James Thomas said in the WCTV cold case episode. The infant froze to death.
"Somebody did take care of the child. The child was cleaned, wrapped in a blanket, had a diaper on. So somebody cared enough to do that for the baby, didn't just discard him," Thomas said.
In the WCTV interview, Thomas said the community rallied around the investigation in the early 2000s. A local business donated an engraved granite bench that sits near the site where the child was found.
"I think the citizens just really had a connection with this baby, this infant," he said.
Baby Daniel is buried in a donated plot at Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens in Suffolk, beneath a grave marker that reads: "LOVED BY MANY.