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Pollen offers new clue in "Baby Doe" investigation

BOSTON --Investigators have a new clue in the mystery of a young girl who was found dead on a Boston-area peninsula - and remains unidentified.

The haunting composite image of "Baby Doe," found in a trash bag by a woman walking her dog on the western shore of Deer Island June 25, has garnered record-breaking amounts of views on social media as officials continue to call for anyone who recognizes her to come forward.

Now, experts at a government lab in Texas have found that the pollen collected from the clothing of the girl - believed to have been about 4 years old - is from trees specific to the greater Boston area, Jake Wark, a spokesman spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, told 48 Hours' Crimesider.

The analysis, completed last week, did not find evidence of pollen found in other parts of the country, Wark said.

As the Boston Globe first reported, that finding is consistent with the theory that the child lived in the Boston area. Investigators suspected as much because the minimal decomposition of the remains suggested she hadn't come from a long distance away, Wark said.

Officials believe she was alive the weekend before she was found, Massachusetts State Police spokesman Dave Procopio told Crimesider last month.

Officials say the girl was found inside a trash bag with a Zebra print blanket, wearing polkadot leggings, close to the shoreline of Deer Island, a peninsula connected to the Boston suburb of Winthrop by a causeway. Procopio said the child's body was either placed on the shore, or placed somewhere in the water before it washed up.

Hundreds of tips have poured in, but so far, they haven't helped reveal her identity.

"Our job as police is we want to speak for her, by determining how she died and holding accountable whoever's responsible for disposing of her body in that manner," Procopio said. "But the most basic question is, who is she? What's her name?"

Another lingering question in the case is how the child died.

Procopio said there was no evident trauma to the girl's body. An autopsy was inconclusive, and recent results from toxicology testing didn't reveal any more information, Wark said.

Officials aren't sure whether her death was a homicide, but they haven't ruled it out.

"We don't have enough evidence at this point to identify her cause of manner of death," Wark said. "We are keeping all options open and we've drawn no conclusions."

The child's DNA was sent to a specialized lab last month, but those results didn't reveal how she died, reported CBS Boston. Officials are still waiting for the results of isotope testing, which would show the retention of chemicals on her teeth, hair and nails, reports the station.

Procopio said it's likely the girl was never reported missing, and it's possible a family member or caretaker may know about her death.

The child brown eyes and brown hair, weighed about 30 pounds, stood about 3½ feet tall, and had pierced ears, officials say.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit at (617) 727-8817, Massachusetts State Police at (508) 820-2121 or Winthrop Police at (617) 539-5806.

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