After more than six decades, authorities in the Southwest have linked the case of an unidentified slain girl to the name of an actual missing child. The homicide victim known in Yavapai County, Arizona, as “Little Miss Nobody” is actually Sharon Lee Gallegos, 4, who was abducted from behind her grandmother’s home in Alamogordo, New Mexico, authorities announced on Tuesday.
A schoolteacher from Las Vegas found the body near Congress, Arizona, on July 31, 1960 while looking for decorative rocks for his garden, said the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). She was partially buried and decomposed. Investigators could not determine her cause of death or identity. Locals from Prescott, Arizona, got together and held her funeral at an area church.
After all these years, it turned out that she was Gallegos. A couple abducted her from behind her grandmother’s home some ten days before she was found dead, according to NCMEC. The abductors dragged Gallegos into a “dirty old green car” after stalking her.
The investigation into who kidnapped and murdered the girl remains ongoing.
Investigators had previously considered that Gallegos might be “Little Miss Nobody.” However, the remains were wearing different clothes than those worn by Gallegos, and the remains and appeared to be those of a seven year old.
DNA testing done through the years finally succeeded.
“The first glimmer of hope came in 2021 when the sheriff’s office raised money through DNASolves to cover DNA testing through Othram Lab, which has had success with degraded samples,” NCMEC wrote. “Last month, the company was able to develop a sufficient DNA profile for a comparison with Sharon’s half brother. It was a match!”
Nephew Ray Chavez Jr., who was born five years after the victim’s death, joined the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office at a press conference Tuesday. He learned about his aunt from family members. He described her as “feisty” and “happy go lucky.” She loved playing with her cousins, he said.
The victim’s plans on giving her a proper headstone with her name and birthdate of Sept. 6, 1955, but they still have to decide if they will move her from her current gravesite, he said.
Chavez thanked law enforcement for their efforts. He voiced amazement at how locals rallied around “Little Miss Nobody.”
“Took care of her for 62 years,” he said. “And we as the family want to say thank you. Thank you for what you’ve done for us. Thank you for keeping my aunt safe and never forgetting her.”
[Image via NCMEC]
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