Crime

Opelika police still seeking identity of young girl found dead in 2012

Facial composites of unidentified girl found dead in Opelika
Facial composites of unidentified girl found dead in Opelika

Opelika, Ala., police released facial composites Thursday afternoon of a young girl who has yet to be identified after being found dead in Opelika on Jan. 28, 2012.

Authorities said the skeletal remains of a child were found in a small creek at a trailer park in the 1700 block of Hurst Street. It’s estimated that she had been dead for 8 months to two years when the remains were discovered.

An anthropological assessment of her bones revealed that the black girl, who was between 4 to 7 years old with medium-length tight curls, was likely abused and malnourished. She may have shown signs of being physically abused on her face and body.

Police said she also appeared sickly and had bad hygiene. Due to her malnourishment, her teeth were underdeveloped and may have appeared small and out of place for her face, according to the release.

Next to the remains was a long-sleeve pink shirt with heart buttons and small ruffles near the neckline that belonged to the child. It’s possible that she was seen in the shirt frequently around the time of her death, according to police.

Officials said they met with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the FBI earlier this year to discuss the case extensively and revisit the evidence. They decided to do a new facial reconstruction and complete new forensic testing.

New advanced DNA analysis/isotope testing is being conducted and the results should be completed within a few months. It may provide information about her ancestral traits and regional information regarding the area she came from, authorities said.

The case remains under investigation by the Opelika Police Department, the Lee County Coroner’s Office, the FBI, and the NCMEC. Anyone with information concerning the case is asked to call the OPD Investigative Services Division at 334-705-5220 or the Secret Witness Hotline at 334-745-8665. You may also contact NCMEC or the local FBI Office.

Sarah Robinson: 706-571-8622, @sarahR_92

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