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Police identify remains of 'Baby Jane Doe' after 11 years and charge her father with murder

Jake Massey

Published 
| Last updated 

Police identify remains of 'Baby Jane Doe' after 11 years and charge her father with murder

Featured Image Credit: Opelika Police Dept.

Police have charged the father of 'Baby Jane Doe' with murder 11 years after her remains were found.

Her unidentified remains were discovered in Opelika, Alabama, back in 2012, and new DNA tests have now led investigators to her dad.

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On January 28 2012, Opelika Police found a skull in a trailer park, while further bones were located behind a trailer and in the adjacent lot.

During the search of the area, a pink child's shirt and a small bundle of curly hair were also recovered.

The remains were sent to the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, where a medical examination found that the remains belonged to a Black girl, likely aged between four and seven, and she became affectionately known as Baby Jane Doe.

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An autopsy revealed a total of 15 individual fractures attributed to blunt force trauma, with breaks located on her skull, arms, legs, shoulders, and ribs.

These injuries all had evidence of healing and occurred sometime prior to her death. In addition, the medical examiner suggested that Jane Doe may have been malnourished and blind in her left eye due to a fracture in her eye socket.

Police determined that she was killed in 2010 or 2011.

She was finally identified after more than a decade. Credit: Opelika Police Dept.
She was finally identified after more than a decade. Credit: Opelika Police Dept.
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Since the discovery of the remains, detectives have reviewed over 15,000 case files from the Alabama Department of Public Health and investigated thousands of tips to no avail.

The force had attempted to develop a DNA profile for Jane Doe, but they were unsuccessful due to the condition of the remains. However, they recently made a breakthrough thanks to advancing technology.

Last January, DNA was extracted from the hair and scalp and they were able to create a profile, which was uploaded to a DNA database.

Genealogist Dr Barbara Rae-Venter used her profile to identify relatives, and in October, Jane Doe's father was identified as 50-year-old Lamar Vickerstaff Jr, who provided police with no information regarding her identity.

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His wife Ruth said she did not know his daughter or who the mother was.

In October, they identified Sherry Wiggins as the mother, who said she gave birth to a girl named Amore Joveah Wiggins in 2006 - and she provided documentation showing that Lamar and Ruth had obtained legal and physical custody of her in 2009.

And on Tuesday (17 January), Lamar and Ruth Vickerstaff were arrested in Jacksonville, Florida.

The couple have both been arrested. Credit: Opelika Police Dept.
The couple have both been arrested. Credit: Opelika Police Dept.
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Lamar Vickerstaff was charged with felony murder and Ruth was arrested for failure to report a missing child.

They are currently being held at the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office pending extradition to Lee County, Alabama.

Police Chief Shane Healey said: "The level of dedication to this case, I have never seen in my entire career — to see a group of men and women coming together searching for a name.

"It felt really, really good to say her name out loud."

Topics: News, US News, Crime

Jake Massey
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