OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – A significant update in Opelika’s Baby Jane Doe case is slated to be announced Thursday by Opelika police. The community may finally hear who investigators believe the little girl is, what happened to her, and who they allege is responsible. 

We may finally be able to speak Baby Jane Doe’s true name. 

It’s been 4,008 days since the child’s skull was unearthed near a mobile home off Hurst Street. More than a decade later, Baby Jane has settled into the hearts of the community and investigators and has yet to leave. 

On Jan. 28, 2012, the remains of a young black girl were found in the woods behind Hurst Street a trailer park in Opelika, Alabama. A long-sleeved pink shirt with heart buttons and ruffles was found near her body, along with her hair. Forensics revealed the child’s left eye was scarred and blind. Police believe she was severely abused, malnourished, and neglected before she was murdered. Forensic tests show she had multiple broken bones, some of which had healed. 

The investigation recently led detectives to outside Alabama and other states Baby Jane Doe may have lived like North Carolina or Virginia. Families in Norfolk and Chesapeake, Virginia, and Northampton, North Carolina are asked to look at reconstruction images, and pictures of a little girl at Greater Peace Church in Opelika taken in 2011. The girl in the photos is believed to be Jane Doe when she was alive.

Shortly after her body was found, police released a clay facial reconstruction of what she may have looked like before she was killed.  The reconstruction prompted members of the Greater Peace Community Church in Opelika to come forward, claiming they had seen the child before but didn’t know her name or her family. Police say they sifted through Sunday school photos taken during the summer of 2011 and came across some that resembled the little girl found in the woods.  The photos were released to the public, but no new information was generated.

A sketch was created by a forensic artist at NCMEC with help from a forensic anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution.  An updated sketch was created and released in 2021.

 It’s estimated the child died between 2010 and 2011 with a focus on the Summer or Fall of 2011. She is estimated to be 4-7 years old and had medium-length black hair. Her height, weight, and eye color cannot be determined. An anthropological assessment of her bones suggests she had likely been severely abused and malnourished in life. Chemical isotope testing on her bones suggests she was born and raised in Alabama or one of the surrounding southern states and the investigation has revealed she possibly had ties to the Orlando, Florida area. 

Thursday morning Opelika Police Chief Shane Healey is hosting a news conference to share the latest information. WRBL will be there and bring you the details as they are revealed.