Precious Doe: Indentity of murdered young girl remains a mystery

Date: 2001/8/24
Location: , United States


**On April 28, 2001 Kansas City Police discovered the headless body of a young girl in woods east of the city while searching for a missing elderly man, who was found safe. Three days later, a volunteer searching the same area found her head in a garbage bag just 100 yards away from where her body was discovered.**

The unidentified girl – dubbed Precious Doe - is described as being three or four years old, weighing 35 to 40 pounds (about 18 kg) and is 42 to 44 inches (about 107cm) tall. She has a chipped upper left front tooth and also has a crescent-shaped birthmark on her left shoulder.

"You usually don`t have a child of such tender years who goes unidentified," said Jeff Lanza, a spokesman for the FBI`s Kansas City office. "Normally you`re going to have someone that misses that child, a parent, a family member or someone that knows that child."

Investigators believe the young girl was killed before she was beheaded and that the crime happened elsewhere. Police have not released the cause of death or whether she was sexually assaulted. They say it appears the body had been in the woods for a few days.

Police thought they had a match when they received several tips that the computer-generated image of Precious Doe resembled a girl missing from Washington state. But DNA ruled out that connection.

"We`re really at square one," said the lead homicide detective on the case, Sgt. David Bernard. "Without an ID, I really have no place to begin."

Mr Lanza said the longer Precious Doe goes unidentified, the more likely it is that she is not from the Kansas City area. "This market has been so saturated with media coverage that someone would have identified this child," he said.

An advertising company donated 20 billboards with the picture and the words "Who Am I?"

Sgt. Bernard said there are several theories as to why Precious Doe has not been identified: The child`s mother herself may be dead; she and her family may be from another state; or the parents might have been involved in the killing.

"There`s been a lot of guesswork, but that`s all it is until we get her identified," he said. "This is the most frustrating investigation many of us have ever worked on. It`s disturbing that someone would do such a monstrous thing to a child, and it`s upsetting that we`re delayed in bringing the perpetrator to justice."

Reward information

A reward of $10,000 is being offered for information about the girl`s identity and that of her killer.