Mom, Toddler Left Mo. in 1982 — But Both Are Likely Dead, and Mom's Former Boyfriend Is Suspect
Authorities in Mississippi have identified the body of a slain toddler girl nearly 38 years after she was found along the banks of the Escatawpa River.
At a press conference Friday, investigators revealed the name of the toddler who was previously known only as "Delta Dawn" or "Baby Jane." The toddler's mom is also believed to be dead.
The suspect in the case is the former boyfriend of the toddler's mom, who is also deceased.
Alisha Ann Heinrich was identified using DNA evidence, reports the Birmingham News, the Clarion-Ledger, and WPXI.
Alisha's remains were found Dec. 5, 1982, after a truck driver spotted a body floating in the waters nearby and called 911.
Officials believe the floating body belonged to Alisha's mother, Gwendolyn Mae Clemons Henrich.
Authorities have never recovered the 23-year-old Missouri mother's body, believing it likely swept away with the tides.
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Alisha was found in a pink-and-white checkered dress and a diaper. It was determined she likely died from drowning, but asphyxiation was not ruled out.
The last time the mother and daughter were seen alive was in Joplin, Missouri, on Thanksgiving 1982. They both left the family's celebration with Gwendolyn's boyfriend.
At a Friday press conference, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell said the couple wanted to start a new life in Florida, the Clarion-Ledger reports.
Police have not released the boyfriend's name, but say he is a suspect in Alisha's killing.
The girl was laid to rest at Jackson County Memorial Park.
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