OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — Since 2012, the remains of the small child found behind a mobile home in Alabama were known only as “Baby Jane Doe.” On Thursday, police in Opelika announced that they have identified the girl as Amore Joveah Wiggins and arrested her father as a suspect in her death.
Opelika Police Chief Shane Healey said they used DNA extracted from the remains and genetic genealogy to find the girl’s family. The deceased girl was born in January 2006.
Police identified the girl’s father as Lamar Vickerstaff Jr., 50, and arrested him in Jacksonville, Florida, charging him with felony murder. Vickerstaff and his wife, Ruth Vickerstaff, who is not the girl’s mother, were both charged with failure to report a missing child.
Healey said the girl’s mother, Sherry Wiggins, lost track of the child after she went to live with her father in 2009 and “has been looking for her ever since.”
It was not immediately known if the Vickerstaffs have an attorney.
Authorities believe the girl was between the ages of 4 and 7 when she was killed. An autopsy showed she had sustained 15 fractures to her skull, arms, legs, shoulders and ribs during her life, 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,” Healey said.
Healey acknowledged he became emotional at times during the Thursday press conference. “It felt really, really good to say her name out loud.”