Authorities in suburban St. Louis who have exhumed the remains of a young girl found dead nearly five decades ago hope technology that has developed since then helps determine her identity and who killed her.
St. Charles County investigators removed the girl's remains Thursday from an unmarked plot in Oak Grove Cemetery and took them to the medical examiner's office for analysis and recovery of DNA samples.
The girl, who is known as "Jane Doe West Alton," was believed to be 2 to 3 years old when found dead by fishermen in 1968 in a weighted-down suitcase near West Alton, not far from the Mississippi River. The girl's death was ruled a homicide, though authorities have refused to reveal how she died, saying it's still an open case.
St. Charles County sheriff's Detective Stephanie Fisk said she began thinking about the case 13 years ago when she spotted the file in the records room, and she later got permission to reopen it after becoming an investigator.
Police also seek the public's help in identifying a composite picture of the girl as she may have looked while alive, based partly on photos of her body. That depiction has appeared on the Facebook pages of county police and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
"Someone, somewhere knows who she is, and possibly what happened to her," Fisk said.
The child's remains were to be returned to her grave in a new casket, and potentially with a headstone.