A Des Moines woman who was convicted twice in the drowning death of her infant son was granted parole Wednesday. In 1998, Heidi Anfinson’s two-week-old son, Jacob, disappeared. Anfinson later confessed to drowning her son in Saylorville Lake.
She’s served nearly 12 years in prison. Iowa Board of Parole chairman Jason Carlstrom says board members noted Anfinson had “very low risk assessments,” according to the Department of Corrections, and served her prison time without any problems.
“She also had a number of strong support letters from people who’ve been involved with her and also with the litigation,” Carlstrom said. Two of those letters of support came from the judge and the prosecutor in the case.
Anfinson’s supporters say she was suffering from severe postpartum depression at the time she buried her son under heavy rocks in Saylorville Lake. She initially denied knowing Jacob’s whereabouts, but later led authorities to the spot where he was drowned.
The board voted 3-0 in favor of parole for Anfinson. While granting her release, the Iowa Board of Parole included a restriction that Anfinson not live with — or work with — children. Anfinson was first convicted of second-degree murder and served nine years in prison before the Iowa Supreme Court granted her a new trial.
That trial in 2009 resulted in a plea deal and Anfinson being convicted of multiple counts of child endangerment. Anfinson is expected to be released from prison within the next few weeks.