Law enforcement officials urged the community to come forth with any information regarding the 2012 discovery of a young girl’s remains on Hurst Street in Opelika, after new composite images of the girl were released Thursday.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children provided updated composite images of a 4-to 7-year-old black girl.
The skeletal remains of the girl, called Juvenile Jane Doe, were discovered in a small creek in a trailer park in the 1700 block of Hurst Street on Jan. 28, 2012. She had been dead for eight months to two years, placing her death between 2010 and 2012.
OPD Capt. Shane Healey said her death has been ruled as a homicide, and officials have not identified her cause of death.
"Earlier this year, Opelika police met with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)," Opelika police said in a press release. "They discussed this case extensively and revisited all evidence. With new developments in technology, it was decided to do a new facial reconstruction and complete new forensic testing."
The images released Thursday might help the police ascertain the girl’s identity, Healey said.
“The images are obviously more realistic images of what she looks like, compared to the images we had previously,” he said.
The girl had medium-length black hair that was styled in small, tight curls. A long-sleeve pink shirt with heart buttons and ruffles on the neckline were recovered near her remains.
“The realistic clothing is important to us because we believe she would have been seen wearing that prior to her death,” Healey said. “It might lead people to believe they recognize the young lady.”
The girl might have been abused and malnourished, and might have shown signs of physical abuse on her face and body while she was alive, the release said. In addition, she might have looked sickly or in poor hygiene. Due to malnourishment, her teeth were underdeveloped and might have appeared small and out of place for her face.
No one has come forward with any information on missing children fitting her description, he said. Healey said he hopes someone will come forth with new information regarding the girl’s identification.
“We ask anyone who lives in that neighborhood, and from any time between the 2008-2012 timeframe, to think back to the kids who were out playing in the neighborhood,” Healey said. “We want them to remember if she lived in one of the trailers or the housing projects nearby.”
OPD's release added, "A new advanced DNA analysis/isotope testing is being completed and the results should be completed within a few months. The testing will hopefully provide information about her ancestral traits and regional information pertaining to the area she came from."
Any bit of information would be useful to the police department, Healey said.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Opelika Police Department Investigative Services Division at (334) 705-5220, the Secret Witness Hotline at (334) 745-8665, or the FBI Mobile Field Office (251) 438-3674.