In January 2012, a resident discovered a child's partial skull near a mobile home on Hurst Street. Investigators later found her mandible, other skeletal remains and some hair in close proximity to where the partial skull was found. The child could not be identified and became known as "Opelika Jane Doe''.
The unidentified child was estimated to be an African American female between the ages of 4-7 years old. According to the autopsy report she had been a victim of abuse and neglect for years. She suffered from malnourishment and multiple apparent injuries, including broken bones and blindness in her left eye. Investigators believe the injury to her eye likely occurred months to a year before her death. It is suspected that her death is a homicide.
In 2016 Investigators received a tip that Opelika Jane Doe may have attended Vacation Bible School at Greater Peace Church in 2011, three miles from where her remains were found. Photos from the Bible School have been released and Investigators believe the child in the photographs is the unidentified child. An artist rendering of what she potentially looked like has also been released in hopes someone may recognize her. So far, many leads and tips have been pursued but the true identity of Opelika Jane Doe remains a mystery.
Recently, Opelika Police Department has teamed up with Othram to explore using advanced DNA testing to build a comprehensive genealogical profile for the unknown child. Othram is working to develop a DNA extract from the child's remains that is suitable for further testing. Once complete, Othram will use Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a genealogical profile. Opelika Police Department has engaged Barbara Rae-Venter to use this genealogical profile to identify relatives and develop investigative leads that might point to Opelika Jane Doe's identity. Anyone that has information that could aid in this investigation is encouraged to contact the Opelika Police Department at 334-705-5200. Please refer to case number 12000847.