On the morning of January 28, 2012, residents of the Brook Haven Trailer Park, 1775 Hurst St. in Opelika, Ala., called police, notifying them that a skull had been discovered directly behind one of the trailers in a vacant lot. One week later, authorities said additional remains were found in a wooded area approximately 40 yards away from the skull.
Right away police got the FBI involved and started canvassing the neighborhood, contacting local schools and even reached out to the Department of Child Services-- all to no avail. Without any leads or missing children reports that could potentially match the young girl, agents in Quantico, Va. composed an image of what she may have looked like. That image has been distributed, but they have yet to come up with any leads.
"I think this child was not exposed to the general public, and that's possibly why she was able to go unnoticed," said Sergeant Richard Converse, who has been on the case since its onset.
It has been nearly three years and authorities are still trying to identify the skeletal remains of little "Jane Doe" in Opelika.
Authorities are unsure exactly how long the remains were in the park before they were discovered. However, residents do recall a decaying smell coming from the area in fall of 2011, so it is possible the child was there for months before she was found.
Dental records indicate the child was African-American and between 4 and 7-years-old when she died; however, the size of her skull could indicate she was even younger. This inconsistency may be due to the fact that the child suffered from a disability, or that she was malnourished due to severe neglect. The child also suffered extensive bone injuries and damage in one eye.
"The type of injuries explained to us would have been very debilitating," Converse said. "It's really horrible."
The death is being investigated as a homicide. If you have any information about this case, contact the Opelika Police Department at 334-705-5200, the Opelika Investigations Unit at 334-705-5220, or the Secret Witness Hotline at 334-745-8665.