Opelika Sweetheart: Unidentified Jane Doe
The remains of a little girl abandoned in a creek show similar injuries and appearance to a young girl photographed at a local church event. Neither has been identified.
Alternative Name: Unknown
La Apoda: Desconocida
Nombres Alternativos: Desconocida
The Disappearance (La Desaparición)
Date: January 28, 2012 (Saturday)
Location: In a creek near Brookehaven Mobile Home Park on the 1700th Block of Hurst Street, Opelika, Alabama, United States
Taken By: Unknown
Fecha: 28 de enero de 2012 (sábado)
Falta de: Fue abandonada en un bosque cerca del arroyo. Estaba detrás de un parque de viviendas móviles llamado Brookhaven. En Opelica, Alabama, Estados Unidos.
On January 28, the skull of a little girl was recovered by a young boy who reported the gruesome discovery to his mother. A police investigation uncovered additional remains on a wooded bank of a stream about 50–75 feet from the Brookehaven Mobile Home Park in Opelika. Evidence suggests she died sometime between 8 months to 2 years prior to recovery (between 2010–2011). Not far from the body, police found a long-sleeved pink shirt with buttons shaped as hearts and little ruffles by the neckline. Although it is believed the shirt belonged to her, this cannot be verified.
Police estimate that she is between 3 to 7 years old and had medium length hair marked by tight black curls. Due to a prior injury occurring at least some months (possibly longer) before her death, the girl had permanent damage and scarring to her left eye (Link). She could have been blind on that side. People interacting with her would have noticed the injury.
The cause of death is unknown, but her death is considered a homicide. It seems the child had a difficult life; she may have been from an abusive environment and suffered from malnutrition. The malnutrition was severe enough to stunt her physical and dental growth. She may have appeared to people to be ill or to suffer from poor hygiene. The abuse was possibly the cause for her injured eye as well.
Isotope testing showed that she was born and lived in Alabama or a nearby southeastern state (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas). There is some information that suggests she was somehow linked to Orlando, Florida as well (Link). She may have spent time in an area with higher lead levels before moving somewhere with lower levels.
According to police, the victim was probably abandoned by someone familiar with the area. . . perhaps someone from the trailer park. The place where she was found is not an area that strangers would easily discover.
Her being a local makes the the failure to identify her highly perplexing. One would expect someone in the neighborhood or at her school would have noticed a child disappearing in the year preceding her discovery. According to police, none of the children registered for school in 2011 failed to return the following year. One wonders if she was a foster child who was slipping through the system. Someone the locals would not have necessarily been familiar with eough to remark if she was not attending school or showed signs of neglect.
“We need to find out her name. We need to give her a proper burial and we need to settle this case for her,”
Detective Sgt. Alfred White (WFLA)
In the course of their investigation, police were able to uncover a photo of a child they believe may be the unfortunate victim. A photo was taken of a small girl attending Vacation Bible School at Greater Peace Baptist Church in summer 2011, an image that looked very similar to the victim’s remains.
The child was 4–5 at the time and also had a physical deformity with her left eye. In the photos, her iris appears enlarged and may be evidence of blindness on that side. She was a quiet child who struggled to communicate at the same level as the other kids. This may have been a contributing factor for why she tended to keep by herself.
So far, police have been unable to identify the child in the photos.
Date of Birth:
Age at Disappearance: 4–7
Ethnicity: African American
Nationality: United States
Gender at Birth: Female
Hair: Medium Length, Black, Curly Hair
Eye Color: Mixed (One may appear blue-ish due to her injury)
Fecha de Nacimiento:
Nacionalidad: Estados Unidos
Sexo al nacer: Mujer
Cabello: Cabello negro, rizado
Color de los ojos: Mixta (una puede parecer azulada debido a su lesión)
Distinguishing Marks or Factors (Características Distintivas)
- Injury and scarring on her left eye. Possibly resulting in blindness.
- Lesión y cicatrices en su ojo izquierdo. Posiblemente provoque ceguera.
- Pink Long-Sleeved Shirt with Heart Buttons and Ruffles nears the Neckline
- Camisa rosa de manga larga con botones de corazón y volantes que se acerca al escote
If You or Anyone You Know Has Information About The Disappearances, Please Contact the Opelika Police Department Detective Division
- Telephone: 334–705–5220
- Secret Witness Hotline: 334–745–8665
Lee County Coroner’s Office
- Telephone: +1 (334) 737–3630
- Telephone: (817) 304–8873
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or use the QR Code (left) to find contact information for the National Police.
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- WLTZ (2018) ‘Police working tirelessly to identify Baby Jane Doe’, 24 March. Link
- Palczewski, S. (2020) ‘Police share enhanced photos of Baby Jane Doe; $20,000 reward posted in cold case’, Opelika-Auburn News, 7 May. Link.
- Jackson, T. (2017) ‘Test result reveals new clue in Opelika Jane Doe mystery’, Opelika-Auburn News, 2 February. Link.
- James, H. (2021) ‘New images: Opelika Police Department continues to investigate 2012 Jane Doe cold case’, CBS42, 9 October. Link.
- Singleton, M. (2016) ‘Do you recognize this little girl found dead in Opelika?’, CBS42, 25 August. Link.
- Nickel, C. (2019) ‘New photos released in Opelika “Jane Doe” case’, CBS42, 29 September. Link.
- Nickel, C. (2017) ‘Who is Jane Doe?’, CBS42, 24 February. Link.
- Alice (2016), “Do you recognize Lee County Jane Doe?”, Defrosting Cold Cases, 25 August. Link.
Originally published at https://thesuitcasedetective.com on December 2, 2021.