I just had the most hair-pulling call with a woman at the Phoenix public library. I had found out about a coupld of articles listed in a Phoenix paper that we do not have that were ran the few days after this little girl was found. I called them to pay for the archives. She said they no longer have that service. I told her "But it's so easy you just print them out and mail them to me." and she said "NO"
She then suggested I try interlibrary loan there for the reels to be sent here, and I said "GREAT !!!!" my heart leaping with joy, only to have her inform me a second later that, oh, that service has apparently been canceled there too. Budget.
Little Miss Nobody is buried beside this child:
The Arizona Daily Star
August 5, 1996
At last, justice may come for baby Francine's death
Author: Tim Dahlberg, The Associated Press
At first, they thought it was a baby doll. Burned and blackened, covered still by bits of red, white and blue baby outfit, it sat upright with stiff arms outstretched toward the desert sky, as if it were reaching to the heavens.
Alan Kessler saw it first, amid an old busted-up TV and some other trash in a ravine in the southeast corner of the sprawling Orme Ranch. He rode by and was almost up the other side of the ravine when his son, J.B., riding behind him, cried out.
``Dad, it's a baby.''
``It's just a doll,'' replied Kessler, eager to get across the pasture to round up calves on the ranch he manages.
``No, no. It's a baby.''
The late afternoon sun cast long shadows as Kessler got off his horse and, with ranch hand Robert Greene, approached the tiny figure. Unbelieving, he watched as Greene took a pen from his pocket and touched its shiny, blackened face. The skin gave, and fluids leaked out.
Kessler rode to the ranch house to call the sheriff. It was Oct. 9, 1990, and nearly six years would pass before the world would know the baby's name and how she came to this desolate place.
It was hard for a visitor to miss Baby Jane Doe in the red brick offices of the Yavapai County Sheriff's Department on Prescott's main street. Sitting in the entryway was a plaster bust of the baby's head, a silent, daily reminder of the failure to crack the case.
In the detective unit, an artist's rendering suggested what Baby Jane Doe might have looked like before the flames burned and blistered her face.
But from the time the baby was found about a mile off Interstate 17, investigators were stumped. Some tire marks at the scene and a partly burned sock covering one foot were about all they had to go on.
Baby Jane Doe touched Prescott. Two dozen people watched when she was buried beside ``Little Miss Nobody,'' another nameless child who died in 1960 under circumstances no one can remember.
The detectives tried everything. They looked up birth records of every baby born in the sprawling county in 1988 and 1989 and visited homes to check on the welfare of each one. Pleas were sent to other police departments in communities who might have missing babies. ``America's Most Wanted'' did a segment on the case.
Nothing turned up. Only psychics called. No one else.
James and Lillian Meegan knew all about Baby Jane Doe. They knew her real name was Francine Lori Toni Meegan. And they knew from the start that they didn't want her.
The dingy motel room where the Meegans lived was close to, but far removed from, the glittering lights of the Las Vegas Strip. They lived there with their three other children, eking out an existence on wages from occasional work as laborers.
James was 33, a tall man with a large nose and piercing eyes. Lillian was 29, with a perpetually sad look on her face. In the fall of 1989, Lillian was pregnant again, and the last thing the Meegans needed was another mouth to feed. Worse yet, both suspected that James wasn't the baby's father.
``If the baby's a girl, you can have it,'' Lillian told a stunned Valerie Jensen in the days before Francine's birth.
Valerie Jensen had been Lillian's close friend in high school. She and Dennis Jensen were godparents to Maria Meegan, the Meegan's oldest daughter.
But the lives of the two women had gone vastly different ways. While the Meegans struggled to get by, Valerie and Dennis Jensen lived in a middle-class neighborhood in Santa Ana, Calif. Valerie Jensen couldn't even imagine living with a domineering man like James Meegan.
The Jensens, who already had three boys of their own, had talked about wanting a girl. Doctors, though, told Valerie she would be risking her health by having another baby.
Lillian Meegan's offer of her baby was no joke. The Jensens quickly agreed, promising to help James and Lillian out financially in return for the baby, who was born Dec. 8, 1989.
From the start, the arrangement was rocky. A few days after the Meegans gave the baby up, Lillian demanded her back. Her husband talked her out of it.
The Jensens gave James Meegan $1,000 cash. Then they bought him a new car. They agreed to make a big down payment on a house for the Meegans.
But James Meegan wrecked and burned the car and demanded another. He called the Jensens regularly, asking for more money. By now, the tab was $30,000 and climbing.
Little Francine, meanwhile, was now 9-month-old Danielle Jensen. She was happy, she was loved, and she was doomed.
On the night of Sept. 10, 1990, upset that the flow of money from the Jensens had stopped, the Meegans demanded the baby back.
You know you guys don't want to work with us, James Meegan said.
You can't have her back, Valerie shouted. She's mine; this is my child.
If you don't give back the baby, Meegan said, you will know what it's like to lose one of your children.
The Jensens quickly got the baby from a bedroom. Tearfully, they gathered her stuff and handed her to the Meegans. They never saw her again.
Thanks to the Jensens, the Meegans' living conditions had improved. They had little money, but they lived in a house now.
A neighbor who visited shortly after the baby returned remembered seeing a giggling toddler looking for toys to play with in the family's living room. She watched in amazement as Lillian scooped the baby up, called her a ``little brat'' and put her in the bedroom alone, shutting the door.
James seemed to resent it that Francine was back, and that she was no longer a little gold mine.
James Meegan was out of work again, this time nursing a broken bone in his thigh. The pain from the injury was bad enough as he lay on the living room floor of their home less than a month after he had retrieved Francine. Making it worse was Francine's incessant crying from a nearby playpen.
What happened next will be up to a Nevada court to decide. James Meegan has given conflicting accounts, at one point claiming Lillian killed Francine. But here is one of his accounts, the version he told a friend.
James Meegan got to his feet and headed toward the crying baby. He banged his injured leg on the coffee table, and pain shot through his body. He grabbed Francine by the neck and shook her. She stopped crying. She started gasping for air. He took Francine to Lillian's bedroom, where she tried to perform CPR. James stretched out next to her on the bed. He tickled her. He tried to play with her. Anything to get Francine to respond.
Francine didn't die quickly. Hours passed. As day broke, she finally stopped breathing.
Eleven-year-old Maria Meegan, preparing for school, saw Francine on the bed.
``She's having trouble breathing,'' Lillian said. But Maria knew that her sister was dead.
Lillian dressed her dead baby warmly, as if to protect her from the cold. She put on a new diaper and tiny green pants. A red, white and blue long-sleeve pullover shirt was next.
James got out a large brown soft-sided suitcase and Lillian placed Francine inside. She zipped the suitcase up, took it out to their white Chevrolet Impala and carefully placed it on a bed of clothing in the trunk.
Lillian drove cautiously, so as to not disturb Francine's lifeless body.
With the rest of the children following in an uncle's car, they drove over Hoover Dam into Arizona. Hours passed before they finally reached a relative's house in the tiny town of Black Canyon City.
From there, Lillian and James drove off alone, Francine's body still in the trunk of the car. They headed up Interstate 17, took a ranch road exit onto a dirt road that led to the ravine, and stopped.
Lillian opened the trunk and unzipped the suitcase. She handed Francine's body to her husband. James set Francine down in the wash and poured gasoline from a plastic red container over her body.
Lillian turned away, unable to watch.
James lighted a match.
``I really hate myself for this,'' Lillian would later tell police.
Gerardo Vazquez had never met James and Lillian Meegan. He had never known Francine. But Vazquez, a social worker in Tulare County, Calif., is the man who gave her back her name.
It was during an on-again, off-again relationship with Lillian's sister, Lucy, that Vazquez first heard about the secret that many in Lillian's family knew, but were afraid to reveal.
On a drive one day, Lucy blurted out that she had a sister whose husband killed their daughter and that no one knew about it.
Intrigued, Vazquez tried to learn more. But Lucy was scared. She warned Vazquez that her sister's husband, the man she called ``Jimbo,'' would kill her and the rest of her family if she talked.
At one point, Lucy agreed to write a statement for Vazquez to take to police. Again, she backed out.
On Jan. 10, Vazquez called Las Vegas police. The next day, homicide Sgt. Ken Hefner called back, asking for details.
A few days later, detectives at the door startled James and Lillian Meegan.
They stammered. They denied they ever had a daughter named Francine.
Police knew better. They already had checked county birth records for the baby no one could remember seeing over the years. Sure enough, there was a birth certificate for a Francine Lori Toni Meegan, born Dec. 8, 1989. Her parents were listed as James and Lillian Meegan.
Detectives dug up the back yard of the Meegans' former house, hoping to find a body. They put a wiretap on the couple's phone, but got nothing of any use.
Finally, they arrested James, knowing the evidence was shaky but hoping to get Lillian to crack once she was away from the man who dominated her life. James Meegan remained confident. His wife, he told friends, would take the rap for him if necessary.
Eager for a deal, prosecutors offered James Meegan a chance to plead guilty to second-degree murder, with a chance for parole in five years. Lillian would face no charges.
The couple rejected the deal.
The next day, police arrested Lillian on a child-abuse charge. But they were heading to court with a weak hand.
Two hundred-fifty miles away, in Prescott, a fifth-grade teacher named Jacque Price was sitting on her living room couch, sipping a cup of coffee and reading the Prescott Daily Courier.
On page three was a picture of Francine, accompanied by an Associated Press story about James Meegan's arrest.
Something clicked in Mrs. Price's mind - a memory of a baby's blackened body found in a ravine years before.
``That's your baby!'' Jacque screamed to her husband, Dennis, a sergeant in the Yavapai County Sheriff's Department.
Authorities finally had their body. Confronted with the new evidence, Lillian Meegan agreed to tell police what had happened.
The same day, her daughter Maria, now 17, gave police a statement implicating the father she still loved in the death of her baby sister.
``I know this might seem like my father was brutal and killed her,'' Maria told police. ``But if you knew my dad you would know he's a very loving father.''
The deal was struck. Lillian Meegan would plead guilty to felony child abuse. James Meegan would admit to first-degree murder. In return, prosecutors would not ask for jail time for Lillian, and James could be eligible for parole after serving 10 years.
Lillian kept her part of the bargain. But when it came time for James Meegan to enter his plea, he reneged.
``There's not a murder here. It's accidental death,'' he told the judge. In a jailhouse interview with a local television station, he claimed Lillian killed the baby.
Lillian Meegan is awaiting sentencing for felony child abuse. James Meegan's murder trial is scheduled to start today. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty.
Does anyone know if this girl was buried (again) and where ?? Any missing girls fit the time frame ??
Unidentified Female, 6-8 years old
Located July 30/31, 1960, Yavapai County Arizona
The victim was half buried in desert, Her body was found in a dry wash 12 miles from Congress Junction by a Las Vegas school teacher hunting for rocks.The creek Bed was on the Old Alamo road about one mile west of state highway 93. This is the southern part of Yavapai county.
She was between 6 and 8 years old, this age range is very estimated and changed from description to description, different sources had her age ranging anywhere from 4 1/2 to 9 years old. Due to her nails being painted, I would think a little closer to 9.
wearing cut down rubber sandals, white shorts, checkered blouse.
Toenails and fingernails painted
badly decomposed. She had been dead for an estimated two weeks.
A pocket knife was found nearby with what appeared to be blood on it , but at the time was not positively connected to her death. Knife was rusty.
Two other holes were dug nearby.
She had no broken bones
Last edited by Starless; 09-22-2009 at 12:47 AM.
Well, we know she was buried beside the Baby Jane Doe mentioned above.
I have a special interest in this case because, like in the Boulder Jane Doe case, the community donated funds for a funeral and gravestone. And, I also found during my research on Boulder Jane Doe that Rev. Parker, who presided over LMN's funeral (in Prescott AZ) ALSO married Katharine and Jimmie Dyer (in Prescott AZ). Katharine was one of the women once considered as Boulder Jane Doe, until Katharine turned up alive in Australia. (As you all probably know, BJD has been identified as Dorothy Gay Howard.)
I know that i am new here but really while are there so many unidentified bodies of people, mostly the children, don't hospitals or the Board of Education ever keep records of kids who never attend school after a while or the Board of Education keep records of those who are homeschool, why can't we go to the Board of Ed and get a list of elementary, jr. or high schools and take a look of either class pictures or yearbooks to see who has been missing for years.(Please can someone post it on Websleuths.com, it seems i can't get on). But come on in the 1920's to the 1960's schools and teachers were more aware of who and wasn't attending school or in class like now