Little Girl Found Dead Over 60 Years Ago Finally Identified

Little Girl Found Dead Over 60 Years Ago Finally Identified

( – Cold cases fill police files across the country, including those that have gone unsolved for years, evidence trails all but disappeared without a trace. Every few years, authorities may reopen these files to see if there’s been any new discovery that could help finally put them to rest. Sometimes, they end up with a breakthrough, and new technology makes it possible as it did recently with a young girl affectionately dubbed “Little Miss Nobody.” A stranger found her body in the Arizona desert in 1960.

The Discovery

On July 31, 1960, a schoolteacher searching for rocks discovered the body of a young girl in the Arizona desert. Try as they might, law enforcement could not determine her identity or even her race due to the advanced state of decomposition. Initial reports had her listed as 7 years old, wearing shorts, a blue buttoned shirt and flip-flops, but that’s all law enforcement, including the FBI who was investigating the case, had to go on.

Later reports would place the girl, who they calculated at 55 pounds and 3’6”, between the ages of 3 and 6 when she died. An autopsy didn’t find any signs of trauma, and all of her bones were intact. There was virtually nothing at the scene except a pocket knife and footsteps, which authorities believed belonged to the victim. Officers were “stumped at every turn.”

Some suggested the body belonged to a missing child from New Mexico, but federal agents could not find any correlation between the two and ruled out the possibility. And it remained that way for decades, until now.

The Connection

On July 21, 1960, just 10 days before the discovery in the desert, a 4-year-old girl named Sharon Lee Gallegos was kidnapped near her home in New Mexico while she played with two other children. That was the last time her family ever saw her.

Little Sharon’s family notified authorities, who set up barricades to capture the kidnappers, but there were no clues to her disappearance other than the witness testimony of her playmates. They said a dark green sedan pulled up with a couple inside and a young boy with a freckled face. When the lady inside the vehicle couldn’t entice Gallegos to get in the car, she forcibly grabbed and took her.

But the story takes another twist. Before Gallegos’ disappearance, a woman reportedly asked around town about her and her mother.

Technology and DNA Solve the Case

Throughout the decades, law enforcement revisited Little Miss Nobody’s case, hoping advances in technology would lead to more details and hopefully an identification so authorities could officially lay the girl the rest and her family given peace. In 2015, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children paid to have the girl’s body exhumed. Authorities collected DNA, which was unheard of in 1960, and in 2018, they created a facial reconstruction sketch which they shared with the media.

Again, Gallegos’ name surfaced, and it seems this time, authorities took the possibility more seriously. Despite advances, DNA technology in 2018 failed to yield definitive results, even when tested against members of Sharon’s family. But all that changed five months ago when Othram, a forensic DNA laboratory, reached out to offer its services.

In late February 2022, Othram confirmed the body belonged to Sharon Lee Gallegos, ending a nearly 62-year mystery and finally bringing some measure of peace to her surviving family. Authorities may never know who kidnapped her and why, but she’s finally laid to rest thanks to over six decades of people refusing to forget the little girl. She’s no longer Little Miss Nobody.

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