It's been more than three decades since a young girl known as "Baby Jane Doe" was found dead and encased in concrete in southeast Georgia, and authorities have finally discovered her identity and who they believe committed the heinous crime.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) identified the girl on Monday as Kenyatta "KeKe" Odom, a 5-year-old who had been living in Albany, Georgia, when police found her remains. Her mother and her mother's then-boyfriend have now been arrested and charged for the murder.
KeKe's remains were found at an illegal dumping site in Millwood, Georgia, on Dec. 21, 1988. Her body had been wrapped in a blanket and placed inside a duffel bag, which was put into a trunk that was encased in concrete and then hidden in an old TV cabinet, GBI Special Agent in Charge Jason Seacrist said at a press conference.
A GBI medical examiner determined the girl died by homicide, but an exact cause of death couldn't be determined at the time.
Seacrist said they believed the girl had a possible link to the Albany area due to an Albany Herald newspaper found near the dump site, and despite efforts to identify KeKe — including the use of genome sequencing four years ago to discover her likely family tree — it wasn't until a woman gave authorities a tip in 2022 that the case began to fully unravel.
"A tipster called," Seacrist said. "She had heard the story of 'Baby Jane Doe' and she believed she may know who this little girl may be. She knew that a child had gone missing and that her mother said the child had gone to live with her father. This person never really believed that story."
The GBI said this lead and the genome sequencing family tree link led them to identify KeKe. The National Center of Missing and Exploited Children also created a "forensic rendering" of what they believe KeKe looked like based on her remains, and that rendering looked similar to KeKe.
A Dougherty County Grand Jury indicted KeKe's mother, Evelyn Odom, also known as Zmecca Luciana, and her then-live-in boyfriend, Ulyster Sanders, on Nov. 1. Eight days later, the two were arrested "without incident" and charged with felony murder, first-degree child cruelty, aggravated battery, concealing the death of and conspiracy to conceal the death of another person, the GBI said.
Odom and Sanders are now being held in Dougherty County jail.
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