Opelika Jane Doe Death – Authorities now have information of the identify of the young girl whose skeletal remains were found in an Opelika trailer park, and they have detained her father and his wife. Opelika Amore Joveh Wiggins has been identified as Jane Doe, also known as Baby Jane, who detectives long feared was abused, neglected, and probably the victim of homicide. Amore would be 17 years old if she were still alive. Lamar Vickerstaff Jr., her father and a career service member in the U.S. Navy, is currently accused of criminal murder. Ruth Vickerstaff, his wife and not Amore’s mother, is accused of failing to file a missing child report.
In Opelika, a news conference is in progress. Shane Healey, the police chief in Opelika, was obviously upset when he announced the resolution of the case. “The level of dedication to this case I’ve never seen in my entire career,’’ Healey said. “It felt really good to say her name out loud.” With the aid of renowned genealogist Barbara Rae-Venter, who assisted police in identifying the Golden State Killer, and Texas-based Othram Inc., which uses highly specialised DNA sequencing and genomics to advance biometrics and human identification, investigators were able to put the puzzle together. Othram is an expert in forensic testing and uses cutting-edge DNA and scientific methods to assist find missing people, identify victims, and identify criminals.
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David Mittelman, CEO of Othram, said that Amore had endured unspeakable abuse before her death. “It was heartbreaking to listen at the press conference as Sergeant (Alfred) White and Captain (John) Clifton recounted the decade-long effort to uncover her identity and bring the responsible parties to justice,” he added. “I’m glad we could use our DNA technology to help in this case,” the representative said. Amore was born in January 2006, and her mother, Sherry Wiggins, who is 37 years old, lost custody of her in 2009. The mother lost contact with Amore after he moved in with his father and his girlfriend. In response to a report of skeletal remains being discovered, Opelika police went to the Brookhaven Trailer Park, which is located at 1775 Hurst Street in Opelika, in January 2012.
The majority of the bones were found just a few feet into the wood line behind a trailer and the neighbouring lot, although a skull was found in the yard of a house. A pink children’s blouse and a little hank of curly hair were also found during the search of the area. The body parts were delivered to the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, where an examination was done. According to the report, the discovered remains belonged to a Black girl who was likely between the ages of 4 and 7 and who the neighbourhood came to call Baby Jane Doe. Her cranium, arms, legs, shoulders, and ribs all had fractures after an autopsy, which revealed more than 15 separate fractures that were ascribed to blunt force trauma, according to the authorities. All of these injuries had evidence of healing and had happened before she passed away.
The medical examiner also speculated that Jane Doe’s fractured eye socket may have caused her to be undernourished and blind in her left eye. Homicide was determined to be the cause of Jane Doe’s death, which is thought to have taken place during the summers of 2010 and 2011. Detectives have examined over 15,000 case files from the Alabama Department of Public Health since the discovery of Jane Doe’s remains and have looked into thousands of leads. Three miles from where her remains were discovered, Opelika Jane Doe may have attended Vacation Bible School at Greater Peace Church in 2011, according to information detectives received in 2016. Investigators thought the child in the pictures from the Bible School was the unidentified child since they were taken at the Bible School. Healey stated on Thursday that they are still unsure if those images are of Amore.
Due to the state of the remains, the Opelika Police Department had previously tried to create a DNA profile for Jane Doe but had been unable. The remains of Opelika Jane Doe were transported to Othram’s facility in The Woodlands, Texas, in January 2022. Othram researchers successfully extracted DNA from the relics and created a thorough genealogical profile. In order to facilitate a search for genetic relations, Othram lastly posted the profile to a genealogy database. Police hired former patent attorney, scientist, and genealogist Rae-Venter for the genetic genealogy study. The Opelika Police Department received investigative leads from her team, Firebird Forensics Group. The 50-year-old Vickerstaff, who was born and reared in Opelika before joining the U.S. Navy, was revealed to be Jane Doe’s father in October 2022. Vickerstaff resided in Norfolk, Virginia, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Jacksonville, Florida throughout his protracted military career.
Detectives from Opelika made a trip to Jacksonville’s Naval Station Mayport in December 2022 to inform Vickerstaff of his daughter’s passing. Vickerstaff gave the investigators no information about Jane Doe’s identity during the meeting. After thereafter, detectives spoke with Vickerstaff’s wife, who has been his wife since May 2006. She admitted to not knowing his daughter or the woman who might be Jane Doe’s mother. Detectives were able to focus their search on a lady in Maryland after Rae-Venter was able to identify many potential matches for Jane Doe’s mother. Detectives visited with Wiggins in December 2022, and she gave them the assurance that she was Jane Doe’s biological mother. Wiggins, a Norfolk native, claimed to have given birth to Amore in 2006. She gave proof that Lamar and Ruth Vickerstaff had taken custody of her daughter legally and physically in 2009, suspending her visitation with Amore at that time.
Wiggins has offered documentation demonstrating her on-going support payments to Lamar Vickerstaff since 2009. Sherry Wiggins and Lamar Vickerstaff’s parent-child relationships to the DNA profile that Othram created from the young girl’s bones were supported by subsequent DNA testing done at the lab utilising KinSNP familial relationship testing. When detectives contacted the school districts and children’s hospitals in several of the states where Lamar and Ruth Vickerstaff resided, they learned that Amore had never been enrolled in school and had never been reported missing. The Lee County District Attorney’s Office and Opelika detectives later met to discuss bringing charges. Lamar and Ruth Vickerstaff, both 53, were taken into custody in Jacksonville, Florida, on January 17, 2023. In anticipation of their extradition to Lee County, they are currently being detained in the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Healey claimed that they have renounced extradition and that plans are being made for their return to Alabama. Lamar Vickerstaff lived close to where Amore’s bones were discovered and went to Opelika High School. “We’ve continued to work this investigation It does remain open,’’ Healey said. “In fact just yesterday we executed a search warrant at a trailer near where her remains were found in conjunction with he FBI’s Evidence Response Team.” “Our hearts go out to Sherry Wiggins,’’ the chief said, “who was a tremendous help in solving the case and helping bring justice to her baby girl.” Healey also mentioned Bill Harris, the former Lee County Coroner, who up until his passing in June continued to work on locating “Baby Jane.” “I have no doubt he is celebrating with Amore today,” Healey said. The chief praised everyone of the investigators who contributed to the investigation, particularly Sgt. White.
“Many of us said that we did not want to leave our time at this police department until we had her name, and now we do. I love you, Wiggins,” he said. According to Capt. Clifton, the police department has a personal connection to the case. “It’s very personal to us,’’ Clifton said. “She was part of our family but now her mother has justice and she knows what happened to her daughter.” Investigators are interested in speaking with anyone who has interacted with the Vickerstaffs and maybe Amore throughout the years. “Amore suffered a tremendous, horrible death,’’ Clifton said. “She had a tragic end to her life.” Call the Opelika Police Department’s Detective Division at 334-705-5220 or the Secret Witness Hotline at 334-745-8665 if you have any information.
PC: De Mashburn
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