A Decade Later, Alabama ‘Baby Jane Doe’ Is Identified, Her Father Charged With Murder

The battered remains of a child were found in a trailer park in 2012. Since then, the little girl was known only as “Baby Jane Doe” but DNA genealogy helped police identify both the child and her killer.

January 26, 2023
A rendering of what police believed 'Baby Jane Doe' looked like before she was identified [left]; "Baby Jane Doe" has been identified as Amore Joveah Wiggins, pictured here, [right].

The battered remains of a child were found in an Alabama trailer park in 2012. Since then, the little girl was known only as “Baby Jane Doe” but DNA genealogy recently helped police identify both the child and her killer.

Photo by: NCMEC [left]; Opelika Police Department [right]

NCMEC [left]; Opelika Police Department [right]

In January of 2012, skeletal remains of a child were found at the Brookhaven Trailer Park in Opelika, Alabama. The skull was found in a resident’s yard, while most bones were found a few feet into a wooded area behind a nearby trailer, according to a press release from the City of Opelika. A small bundle of curly hair and a pink child’s shirt were also recovered in the area.

The FBI Laboratory tested the child’s remains and determined she was a black female between the ages of 4 and 7. An autopsy later revealed that the child had more than 15 fractures from blunt force trauma, including fractures to her arms, legs, shoulders, ribs, and skull. These injuries had healed, so they were determined to have happened sometime before she was killed and were not the direct cause of her death.

The medical examiner discovered more gruesome details of what the child’s life may have been life. Opelika police report that she might have been malnourished and could have been blind in one eye because of an eye socket fracture. Her death was ruled a homicide, and investigators estimated that she was likely killed between the summer of 2010 and 2011.

Without an identity, the child became known as “Baby Jane Doe” to the community and “Opelika Jane Doe” when the case garnered national attention. Local police worked with the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to try to solve the child’s murder.

Modern DNA technology ultimately helped identify the girl and her alleged killer. In October 2022, investigators used DNA genealogy to determine that her father was 50-year-old Lamar Vickerstaff, Jr. Police visited him at his home in Jacksonville, Florida, but he wouldn’t reveal the child’s name or give them other information about her identity, according to CNN.

Ruth Vickerstaff, Lamar’s wife who has been married to him since 2006, told police that she never knew the child and didn’t know who the mother was. However, she was with Lamar at the time when police think the girl was killed.

Continuing the investigation, police identified the girl’s mother as Sherry Wiggins. When police interviewed her, she confirmed she gave birth to a child in January 2006. Finally, “Baby Jane Doe” was identified as Amore Joveah Wiggins.

The Vickerstaffs obtained sole custody of Amore in 2009. She was never enrolled in school, and the Vickerstaffs never reported her missing.

On Jan. 17, 2023, over a decade after Amore was killed, Lamar and Ruth Vickerstaff were arrested in Jacksonville, Florida. Lamar Vickerstaff is charged with felony murder, and Ruth Vickerstaff is charged with failure to report a missing child, according to News4JAX.

The Vickerstaffs are being held without bond pending an extradition hearing that is scheduled for Feb. 17. They are expected to be extradited to Lee County, Alabama to face the charges against them.

Amore’s murder remains under investigation, and authorities are asking for the public’s help. If you have any information about Lamar and Ruth Vickerstaff’s relationship with Amore or any information about the child’s life, please contact the Opelika Police Department Detective Division at (334) 705-5220 or the Secret Witness Hotline at (334) 745-8665. Alternately, tips can be submitted anonymously through the Opelika Police Mobile App.

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