MILLWOOD, Ga. (TCD) — State law enforcement officials have positively identified a 5-year-old girl who was found in a barrel in a wooded area almost 35 years ago.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), on Dec. 21, 1988, the Ware County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance in a death investigation after a young girl’s body was discovered “in a container encased in concrete.” The medical examiner at the time determined her manner of death was homicide, but her cause the death could not be determined.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children said in a news release that a truck driver found the container and the remains, which were wrapped in a brown blanket and “concealed inside a duffel bag that was placed inside a TV console cabinet.” Investigators also found a newspaper from Albany, Georgia.
In a press conference, Monday, Nov. 13, GBI Special Agent Jason Seacrist said the body was discovered at an illegal dump site.
Seacrist detailed, “She was inside of an old TV cabinet, wrapped in a blanket inside of a duffel bag inside of a trunk that had been encased in concrete.”
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation reopened the case in 2019 and turned to genome sequencing to help positively identify the girl, who became known as Ware County Jane Doe. The GBI worked with Othram Inc. to create a genealogical profile of the child. She was reportedly found wearing a white pajama top with a horse emblem, white thermal pants with a maroon bottom, and a diaper.
Officials found possible family relations in Albany. The big break in the case, however, occurred when someone reached out to law enforcement in December 2022, which confirmed the girl’s identity as Kenyatta “Keke” Odom. She was 5 years old when she died in Albany.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents presented the case to a grand jury Nov. 1. On Nov. 9, detectives arrested Keke’s mother, 56-year-old Evelyn Odom — who also goes by the name Zmecca Luciana — and Odom’s ex-boyfriend, 61-year-old Ulyster Sanders, on charges of felony murder, first-degree cruelty to children, aggravated battery — family violence, concealing the death of another person, and conspiracy to conceal the death of another person.
According to the indictment cited by WJXT-TV, Sanders and Odom allegedly put Keke in boiling water, which severely injured her legs and feet and led to her death.
Seacrist said in the news conference, “Baby Jane Doe is no longer unnamed.”
- GB Identifies 1988 Ware County Baby Jane Doe, arrests 2 in her death – Georgia Bureau of Investigation
- Ware County Jane Doe Identified, Arrests Made – National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
- News Conference: Announcement in Ware County Baby Jane Doe Case – Georgia Bureau of Investigation
- GBI and Ware County Sheriff’s Office Leverages Othram’s Genetic Testing Platform to Identify a 1998 Murdered Preschooler – Othram Inc.
- ‘Baby Jane Doe is no longer unnamed’: Georgia mother, boyfriend charged in death of 5-year-old found dead in 1988 – WJXT
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