Missing girl, 4, found dead in creek identified after 62 years

Police have identified a four-year-old girl whose burned body was found in a creek in the Arizona desert over 60 years ago.

The girl was identified as Sharon Lee Gallegos, who hasn't been seen after she was allegedly abducted from her grandmother's house in Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 21, 1960.

A body of a small child was found in Arizona ten days after her disappearance, although technology was not sophisticated enough at the time to identify them, with the remains dubbed 'Little Miss Nobody'.

Initially, the FBI concluded the remains weren't Sharon Lee Gallegos due to the clothing she was found in and a mismatched footprint, however, DNA analysis later proved that it was.

The four-year-old girl, identified as Sharon Lee Gallegos went missing in July, 1960.
Sharon Lee Gallegos went missing in July, 1960. Source: Facebook/ Yavapai County Sheriff's Office

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office in Arizona, the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children and National Missing and Unidentified Persons System have spent decades attempting to identify the remains which remained a mystery— until now.

The case went cold until 2015

The case of the missing girl went cold until 2015 when Yavapai Police and Colorado cold case investigators exhumed the remains found in the desert in hope of identifying who they belonged to.

Officials used DNA analysis to compare the remains with DNA obtained from living relatives of Sharon Lee Gallegos.

A link was still not able to be made between the remains and the missing child until 2021, when the Yavapai Police were put in touch with Othram— a specialised lab that uses advanced genome sequencing technology to identify remains — confirming in February 2022 the remains were Sharon Lee Gallegos.

The case of 'Little Miss Nobody' was solved after 62 years.
An image of what 'Little Miss Nobody' was believed to have looked like. Source: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Sharon Lee Gallegos' family is 'grateful' for closure

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference on Tuesday (local time) to officially announce the identity of the 'Little Miss Nobody'.

"In 1960, people had no idea that DNA would even be a technology," Sheriff David Rhodes told reporters.

"They wouldn't even know what to call it. It didn't exist. But somehow, some way, they did enough investigation to preserve, to document, to memorialise — all the things that needed to occur so that someday we could get to this point."

Sharon’s nephew Ray Chavez attended the press conference, thanking the police for their efforts and saying his family is"grateful" to finally have answers.

“We want to thank the people of Prescott for taking care of my aunt for 62 years," he said. "Thank you for keeping her safe."

Sheriff Rhode said they're honoured to have solved the mystery and give 'Little Miss Nobody' a name,

“We are honoured to have solved the mystery of the little girl from the desert, and hope through the continued work of our detectives, volunteers and outside partners, to bring the same closure to other families of cold case victims," he said.

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