Initially Published: December 1, 2021
Updated: January 19, 2023
Opelika Sweetheart | Lee County Jane Doe
Alternative Name: Unknown
La Apoda: Desconocida
Nombres alternativos: Desconocida
Location of Remains: In a creek near Brookehaven Mobile Home Park on the 1700th Block of Hurst Street, Opelika, Alabama, United States
Date Recovered: January 28, 2012 (Saturday)
Falta de: Los restos fueron encontrados en un arroyo cerca de un vecindario de casas móviles en la cuadra 1700 de Hurst Street, Opelika, Alabama, Estados Unidos.
Fecha en que se encontró el cuerpo: 28 de enero de 2012 (sábado)
*CURRENTLY IDENTIFIED! (1/19/2023) – Notes at the bottom of the circumstances!
On January 28, the skull of a little girl was recovered by a young boy who reported the gruesome discovery to his mother. A police investigation uncovered additional remains on a wooded bank of a stream about 50 – 75 feet from the Brookehaven Mobile Home Park in Opelika. Evidence suggests she died sometime between 8 months to 2 years prior to recovery (between 2010 – 2011). Not far from the body, police found a long-sleeved pink shirt with buttons shaped as hearts and little ruffles by the neckline. Although it is believed the shirt belonged to her, this cannot be verified.
Police estimate that she is between 3 to 7 years old and had medium length hair marked by tight black curls. Due to a prior injury occurring at least some months (possibly longer) before her death, the girl had permanent damage and scarring to her left eye (Link). She could have been blind on that side. People interacting with her would have noticed the injury.
The cause of death is unknown, but her death is considered a homicide. It seems the child had a difficult life; she may have been from an abusive environment and suffered from malnutrition. The malnutrition was severe enough to stunt her physical and dental growth. She may have appeared to people to be ill or to suffer from poor hygiene. She also had various healed or healing injuries to her skull, arms, legs, shoulders, and ribs (more than 15 separate fractures in total). The abuse was possibly the cause for her injured eye as well.
Isotope testing showed that she was born and lived in Alabama or a nearby southeastern state (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas). There is some information that suggests she was somehow linked to Orlando, Florida as well (Link). She may have spent time in an area with higher lead levels before moving somewhere with lower levels.
According to police, the victim was probably abandoned by someone familiar with the area. . . perhaps someone from the trailer park. The place where she was found is not an area that strangers would easily discover.
Her being a local makes the the failure to identify her highly perplexing. One would expect someone in the neighborhood or at her school would have noticed a child disappearing in the year preceding her discovery. According to police, none of the children registered for school in 2011 failed to return the following year. One wonders if she was a foster child who was slipping through the system. Someone the locals would not have necessarily been familiar with eough to remark if she was not attending school or showed signs of neglect.
“We need to find out her name. We need to give her a proper burial and we need to settle this case for her,”Detective Sgt. Alfred White (WFLA)
In the course of their investigation, police were able to uncover a photo of a child they believe may be the unfortunate victim. A photo was taken of a small girl attending Vacation Bible School at Greater Peace Baptist Church in summer 2011, an image that looked very similar to the victim’s remains.
The child was 4-5 at the time and also had a physical deformity with her left eye. In the photos, her iris appears enlarged and may be evidence of blindness on that side. She was a quiet child who struggled to communicate at the same level as the other kids. This may have been a contributing factor for why she tended to keep by herself.
At last, after more than a decade, Opelika Jane Doe has been given her name back — we are so wonderfully pleased to be able to tell you that this precious little girl is Amore Joveh Wiggins.
Lamar Vickerstaff was a native of Opelika but had enlisted in the US Navy, a migratory career that would assist him in hiding the truth behind Amore’s disappearance for more than a decade. He lived in a variety of cities across the US including Jacksonville, FL; Norfolk, VA; and Honolulu, Hawai’i. In January 2006, Lamar and Sherry Wiggins, a woman from Norfolk, VA witnessed the birth of their daughter Amore Joveh Wiggins. A few months later in May, Lamar married his present wife Ruth as he and Sherry went separate ways.
Unfortunately, in 2009, Sherry lost custody of Amore to Lamar and his wife. She has continued paying child support in the years since 2009 but was not allowed to see Amore, having lost her visitation rights. It appears Sherry believed her daughter was still alive and safe with her father and stepmother.
Othram laboratories has gain fame over recent years for their specialized expertise in building DNA profiles for genealogical testing in cases involving unidentified persons. They collected the evidence necessary to begin working on Amore’s case in January 2022 and by October they had successfully identified Lamar as her father. Police spoke with both Lamar and Ruth, but they did not provide information about Amore’s mother and Ruth denied knowing of her existence.
Further investigation eventually led police to Sherry who confirmed that she had a child with Lamar and that he and Ruth had taken custody of the girl in 2009. Police uncovered the fact that despite Amore living with them from 2009 until her death, Lamar and Ruth had never enrolled her in school and had never reported her disappearance.
Lamar and Ruth Vickerstaff were arrested on January 17, 2023 in Jacksonville, FL on charges ranging from felony murder and child abuse to failure to report a missing child. Police were able to pick up Ruth during a traffic stop and Lamar voluntarily surrendered himself to police after coming to the scene. Lamar was stationed at Naval Station Mayport as a chief engineman but had retired not long ago.
Although the case itself is not yet reached its end, the truth has come and Amore can finally take back her name and life. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to her mother and any extended family who held her dear. Sleep in peach sweetheart. 🕊️
- Date of Birth: 2006
- Age at Disappearance: 6
- Ethnicity: African American
- Nationality: United States
- Gender at Birth: Female
- Hair: Medium length, Black, Curly Hair
- Eye Color: Mixed (one may appear blue-ish due to her injury)
- Languages Spoken:
- Fecha de Nacimiento: Enero 2006
- Edad: 6
- Etnicidad: Afroamericana
- Nacionalidad: Estados Unidos
- Sexo al nacer: Mujer
- Cabello: Cabello negro, rizado
- Color de los ojos: Mixta (una puede parecer azulada debido a su lesión)
Distinguishing Marks or Factors (Características Distintivas)
- Injury and scarring on her left eye. Possibly resulting in blindness.
- Lesión y cicatrices en su ojo izquierdo. Posiblemente provoque ceguera.
Medical Concerns (Preocupaciones Médicas)
- Pink Long-Sleeved Shirt with Heart Buttons and Ruffles nears the Neckline
- Camisa rosa de manga larga con botones de corazón y volantes que se acerca al escote
If You or Anyone You Know Has Information About The Disappearances, Please Contact:
- Opelika Police Department Detective Division
- Telephone: 334-705-5220
- Secret Witness Hotline: 334-745-8665
- Lee County Coroner’s Office
- Telephone: +1 (334) 737-3630
- Telephone: (817) 304-8873
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or use the QR Code (right) to find contact information for the National Police.
- WLTZ (2018) ‘Police working tirelessly to identify Baby Jane Doe’, 24 March. Link
- Palczewski, S. (2020) ‘Police share enhanced photos of Baby Jane Doe; $20,000 reward posted in cold case’, Opelika-Auburn News, 7 May. Link.
- Jackson, T. (2017) ‘Test result reveals new clue in Opelika Jane Doe mystery’, Opelika-Auburn News, 2 February. Link.
- James, H. (2021) ‘New images: Opelika Police Department continues to investigate 2012 Jane Doe cold case’, CBS42, 9 October. Link.
- Singleton, M. (2016) ‘Do you recognize this little girl found dead in Opelika?’, CBS42, 25 August. Link.
- Nickel, C. (2019) ‘New photos released in Opelika “Jane Doe” case’, CBS42, 29 September. Link.
- Nickel, C. (2017) ‘Who is Jane Doe?’, CBS42, 24 February. Link.
- Alice (2016), “Do you recognize Lee County Jane Doe?”, Defrosting Cold Cases, 25 August. Link.
- Robinson, C. (2023) ‘Opelika Jane Doe identified after 11 years: Father and his wife arrested’, AL.com, 19 January, Link.
- DNASolves.com (2023) ‘Opelika PD Leverages Othram’s Genetic Testing Platform to Identify Opelika Jane Doe’, Link.
- Micolucci, V. (2023) ‘Jacksonville police arrest couple wanted in Alabama ‘Jane Doe’ murder’, News4JAX, 19 January, Link.
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