Child's Body Exhumed to Solve 1968 Murder

Officials hope new technology will break the cold case
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2015 12:30 PM CDT
Child's Body Exhumed to Solve 1968 Murder
Jane Doe West Alton   (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

Forty-seven years after a young girl was found dead in a suitcase, law-enforcement agents have exhumed her body, hoping to find out who she was and who killed her, the AP reports. The body of Jane Doe West Alton, as she is known, was found by fishermen in a weighted suitcase near the Mississippi River in Missouri in 1968. “I've often wondered about it," one of them tells KMOV. "Every time I see somebody fishing or going fishing it kind of rings a bell you know or I think about that." Police believe the girl was 2 or 3 at the time of her death, which they ruled a homicide without ever revealing the cause. She was buried in an unmarked plot, and the case went cold.

Investigators dug up her body Thursday in the hopes new technology will give them a break in the cold case. According to 11 Alive, officials think they'll have a more accurate age estimate and better facial reconstruction of the girl within a few weeks. "Someone, somewhere knows who she is, and possibly what happened to her," says detective Stephanie Fisk, who was finally given permission to open the case after coming across it 13 years ago. Her team plans to begin comparing the girl's DNA to those of parents who have reported missing kids since the 1960s. Jane Doe West Alton's body will be returned to its grave in a new casket and possibly with a headstone. (In another cold case, a man was charged in the murder of two young sisters four decades ago.)

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