PASCAGOULA, Miss. (NewsNation Now) — The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office announced a new development in a child death mystery that has haunted the area for nearly 4 decades. “Baby Jane Doe” was an infant who was found floating in a river on December 5th, 1982. Friday, the Sheriff’s Office announced they have identified the child.
With the help of DNA genealogy, “Baby Jane Doe” was identified as Alisha Ann Heinrich, NewsNation affiliate WKRG reported.
Alisha’s mother, Gwendolyn Mae Clemons (Heinrich) was also named by officials, according to Jackson County Sheriff’s Office; Gwendolyn is still missing.
The child was last seen when she and her mother, 23-year-old Gwendolyn Clemons, left their family home in Joplin, Mo., on Thanksgiving 1982.
Clemons and her daughter, accompanied by a man Clemons was dating at the time, were traveling to Florida to start a new life. Ten days later, Alisha’s body was found, Clemons was missing and the man disappeared.
Deputies say they have a suspect in mind; however, he is deceased.
Prior to the identification of “Baby Jane Doe,” the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children described what was known about the case:
“On December 5, 1982, the body of an unidentified child was found in thick brush along the Escatawpa River, beneath the Westbound lanes of Interstate 10 in Jackson County, MS. The body was that of a white female, approximately 18 months old. She had been deceased less than two days before being found. The child was approximately 2-5” tall and weighed around 25 pounds. Her eye color was indecipherable but was possibly brown or blue. Her hair color was strawberry blonde. The child was found wearing a pink and white checkered “Cradle Togs” dress or shirt and a disposable diaper. She had 12 teeth and appeared to have been well-nourished and cared for. Witnesses recall seeing a young adult female, carrying a baby walking along the Interstate a few nights prior to when her body was found. Authorities believe the baby seen by witnesses could be this unidentified child. The adult female has never been located or identified. The image above is a facial reconstruction completed by a NCMEC Forensic Artist and depicts what the child may have looked like in life.”