“Little Jane Doe”, whose remains were found 11 years ago in Alabama, has finally been identified. Thanks to advances in DNA testing, her biological father, who was suspected of murder, and her stepmother, who was charged with failing to report the child missing, have been arrested, according to local police.
The identification of the girl, whose remains were found in 2011, was announced by the US National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), citing information from the police in Opelika, Alabama. “Amore Wiggins. It’s really good to say her name out loud,” said Shane Healey, Opelice Police Chief, clearly moved. Earlier, he proudly presented the officers who contributed to solving this mystery. “I want to commend my entire team for their hard work. Without it, we might never have known her name,” he added, quoted by NCMEC.
“Little Jane Doe” from Opelika, Alabama
The history of the investigation into “Little Jane Doe”, as the girl was called by the media, dates back to January 28, 2012. That’s when the girl’s remains were found behind a mobile home in Opelika, eastern Alabama. The skull was buried in the plot by the trailer, the rest of the bones a little further, in the nearby forest. Nearby, the detectives came across a pink long-sleeved shirt with heart-shaped buttons.
As NCMEC writes, the police approached the case with a lot of emotion from the beginning. The remains were sent for examination and identification to the famous FBI base in Quantico. The child, aged 4 to 7, was found to have been abused and neglected for years. Died by homicide in 2010 or 2011. It is known that a year before her death she suffered an eye injury and could not see out of it. Thanks to this information, they wanted to identify the girl. And although even her alleged photos were found, and detectives looked through more than 15,000. They reviewed case files from the Alabama Department of Public Health and investigated thousands of clues, still unable to identify the child.
According to the website opelika-al.gov, the local police tried to compile a DNA profile of the girl, but this was unsuccessful due to the condition of the child’s remains. Her identity and the circumstances of her death remained a mystery. Until now.
Breakthrough in the case and arrest for father and stepmother
On Thursday, January 19, Opelika police held a press conference where it was announced that the girl known as “Little Jane Doe” from Opelika was Amore Joveah Wiggins, born January 1, 2006. Today she would be 17 years old. As it turns out, the baby was identified thanks to advances in DNA testing in recent years. A year ago, material from the girl’s skin and hair was obtained, thanks to which further research was possible. They led to finding Amore’s parents and establishing her identity.
The girl’s biological father was identified as 50-year-old Lamar Vickerstaff Jr. According to CNN, when investigators visited his home in Jacksonville, Florida to report the girl’s death, he gave them no information about the child. Similarly, Ruth Vickerstaff, who has been married to Lamar since 2006, told police she never knew the child. In December, detectives determined the whereabouts of the child’s mother. Sherry Wiggins confirmed that she did indeed give birth to a baby in January 2006, whom she named Amore Joveah. However, as she stated, the Vickerstaffs obtained sole custody of the girl in 2009. She has been paying child support to Lamar regularly since that year, police say.
After contacting schools and pediatric clinics in several states where the Vickerstaffs lived, detectives determined that Amore had never been enrolled in schools and had not been reported missing.
Lamar and Ruth Vickerstaff were arrested on Tuesday. They’re waiting at the sheriff’s office in Jacksonville for extradition to Alabama. Meanwhile, the police are asking for any information about the Vickerstaffs’ connection to Amore or details of the time spent in Opelice.
Who is Jane Doe
Jane Doe is the female version of John Doe. This term is used to refer to all those who are nameless and unidentified, most often in court and police documents. A bit like the abbreviation NN used in Poland
One of the most famous cases of children whose identities were established years later was recently The Boy in the Box puzzle the oldest unsolved homicide case in Philadelphia until last year. After 65 years, police investigators managed to find out who the victim was. As reported in early December, the “Boy in the Box” is Joseph Augustus Zarelli.
NCMEC, opelika-al.gov, CNN
Main photo source: Instagram/NCMEC