OPELIKA, Ala. — For five years, a heartbreaking mystery has haunted our area. The remains of a little girl were found near an Opelika trailer park.
Police still don’t know who she is or who left her there.
“She had a name, and she had a life. We want to find the person who stole that life away from her and bring them to justice, and we want to get her identified,” says Captain Bobby Kilgore.
Janauary 28, 2012, a date that Opelika won’t soon forget. On that day in Brookhaven Trailer Park off Hurst Street, a child made a gruesome discovery.
“There was a skull that had been brought up in somebody’s yard, possibly by a dog or something. Obviously, it had been in the elements for a while because it was nothing but just bone,” says Coroner Bill Harris.
A search of woods on a nearby creek bank uncovered more human remains.
“The cause of death was due to homicidal means, but they could not be specific,” says Harris.
But what makes this case so haunting, so unusual, the remains were those of a little girl between four and seven years of age.
“The remains were then sent to the FBI. Further testing narrowed it down a little bit. We got some DNA from it, but unfortunately, we did not get a hit from anything in the United States of any child missing,” says Harris.
“We have exhausted almost everything we can think of. We’re begging the public for their help,” says Kilgore.
“One of the most frustrating parts of this case is that investigators cannot identify little Jane Doe. So far there have been no reports of a missing child that match her description. We’re about to show you an artist’s rendering of a piece of clothing found near her body, and police hope the details in it might lead someone to recognize her.
“The shirt that was found near the little girl, it’s got these heart-shaped buttons and this little bit of lace right in here, and that might be something that will jog somebody’s memory,” says Kilgore.
Also, photographs were released by Opelika police. They were taken at a vacation Bible school and someone thought they might possibly be the little Jane Doe.
“We did release those images late last year, in 2016, hoping that perhaps that this might be our Jane Doe and hoping that somebody might be able to say, ‘Oh yes. I remember that little girl. This is the name we had her for.’ But unfortunately, nobody has come forward with a name,” says Kilgore.
Despite the lack of progress in the case, Opelika law enforcement refuses to give up.
“We’ve checked with the school systems. No child has been a student at the Opelika City Schools the year prior and didn’t check back in the next year that we found the remains, so that was something that we looked at. So we’re still looking at all avenues, and any tips that comes in, we’re going to pursue. it,” says Harris.
“Every single lead we get will be followed up on as soon as we get it. This is not something we do in our spare time. This is a priority case. Any information we get, we will follow up on. We want to know who this little girl is,” says Kilgore.
A young life taken and discarded, unclaimed. But a mystery investigators are sure can be solved.
Recently, an isotope test performed on the little girl’s remains reveals she is from the southeast, perhaps even Alabama.
If you have any information on the identity of this little girl you are asked to contact Opelika police, the Lee County Coroner or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.