Opelika, Alabama — Police in Opelika, Alabama, have arrested and charged the father of a girl whom investigators affectionately called “Baby Jane Doe” since the discovery of an unidentified body in 2012, officials said. announced Thursday, CNN reported.
Lamar Bickerstaff Jr., 50, was arrested Tuesday and charged with murder when his daughter Amore Joveah Wiggins died, Opelika Police said in a news release.
Bickerstaff’s wife, Ruth Bickerstaff, was also arrested and charged with failing to report the missing child, police said.
CNN has yet to determine if either has an attorney.
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Investigators have been trying to identify Amore’s body since it was found in a trailer park in January 2012, police said. A skull was found in a residential garden, and most of the bones were found in nearby woods. Police also found a pink shirt and a small tuft of curly hair.
The body was sent to an FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, where inspectors determined it belonged to a black girl between the ages of four and seven, police said. Investigators believe she was murdered between the summer of 2010 and the summer of 2011, the release said.
An autopsy revealed that the child had more than 15 fractures to his skull, arms, legs, shoulders and ribs, all from blunt force trauma. Police said it occurred sometime before her death.The coroner also concluded that she may have been malnourished and blinded in her left eye from an orbital fracture, police said.
In October, with the help of a DNA family tree, investigators were able to identify Lamar Bickerstaff as Baby Jane Doe’s father.
When investigators visited Mr. and Mrs. Vickerstaff’s home in Jacksonville, Fla., and informed the father of her death, the father did not provide them with any information about the child’s name or identity. Ruth Bickerstaff, who is married, also told police that he did not know Lamar and did not know who his mother was.
In December, investigators narrowed down a possible match for the girl’s mother to Sherri Wiggins.
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Police said after contacting schools and pediatric clinics in several states where the Vickerstaff family lived, detectives reported that Amore was enrolled in school and missing. I learned that no.
Lamar and Ruth Bickerstaff were arrested in Jacksonville on Tuesday and are being held at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department pending extradition to Alabama, the release said.
The investigation is still ongoing, and police are asking the public to provide information about the Bickerstaff’s relationship with Amore or her time spent in Opelika.
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