NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – On Saturday, family, friends, and Opelika Investigators and community members came together at Graves Funeral Home in Norfolk to celebrate Amore Wiggins’ life.
A few months ago, we told you investigators were asking people here in Hampton Roads for help in a decade-old Alabama murder case.
The remains of a young girl were found in a wooded area behind an Opelika, Alabama trailer in late January 2012. Her body was badly decomposed and no one knew who she was, or how she got there.
Over the years, investigators were able to get these sketches made of what they believed the little girl looked like and as ways to test DNA evidence became more advanced, they were able to start putting the pieces of this very sad puzzle back together.
Ten years later, some major strides were made in the case. Investigators finally knew the girl’s name and made an arrest.
“We can finally put the proper name and proper face with her and we don’t have to call her Jane Doe anymore,” said Opelika Police Detective Alfred White.
Amore Wiggins was born in Norfolk on January 1st, 2006. Her mother, Sherry Wiggins, says Amore was a happy baby.
Sherry lost custody of her when she was young, but says she never stopped thinking about her and even paid child support up until late 2022 when she found out Amore was gone.
“Never in a million years did I think you wouldn’t be loved right,” said Sherry Wiggins.
Amore’s father, Lamar Vickerstaff, was in the Navy and Sherry thought Amore would have a better life with her father and his wife, Ruth.
“I didn’t want you to have it hard so I let your tiny hand go imagining you’d be playing in a big backyard,” said Sherry.
Police believe Amore was severely abused and neglected before her murder. Forensics also revealed her left eye was scarred and blind.
Lamar and Ruth are now facing charges for her death.
It’s a case that captured the hearts of many in Opelika, including Alexis Meniefield, who worked to keep this case alive through social media
“I screamed so loud when I had seen her picture,” said Meniefield. “That was the face I had been waiting to see. She’s gained such a big place in our hearts.”
People who came to celebrate her on Saturday never underestimated the impact she’s made on those who’ve worked tirelessly to learn her name and remembered all it took to get to this day.
“That was the driving force that kept us together for so long to try to give her the peace that she deserves to ultimately get to this day, give her a name and give her the proper peace she deserves,” said Detective White. “If you didn’t get to hear it from the people who had you last you can hear it from us, we love you.”
Amore would’ve turned 17 this year. Sherry says they could have shared a lot of memories, had she not been taken so soon.
“We all live, we all have a day and a time to go away, but no one on this God’s earth deserves to go away like that,” said Sherry.
As she continues this fight for justice, Amore’s name means more than ever before, because it carries a legacy of love and justice.
“We will carry on your name and we won’t stop,” said Sherry.
If you missed the service, you can watch it here.
Lamar and Ruth Vickerstaff are due in court in Alabama in March.