Police in Opelika, Alabama, have arrested and charged the father of a young girl who investigators have affectionately known as “Baby Jane Doe” since her unidentified remains were found in 2012, authorities announced Thursday.
Lamar Vickerstaff, Jr., 50, was arrested Tuesday and charged with murder in the death of his daughter, Amore Joveah Wiggins, who would have been about 6 years old when she died, the Opelika Police Department said in a news release.
Vickerstaff’s wife, Ruth Vickerstaff, was also arrested and charged with failure to report a missing child, police said.
CNN has yet to determine if either has an attorney.
Investigators have been trying to identify Amore’s remains since they were found at a trailer park in January 2012, police said. A skull was found in the yard of a residence and most of the bones were found in woods nearby, the release said. Police also found a pink shirt and a small lock of curly hair.
The remains were sent to an FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia, where examiners determined they belonged to a Black girl between the ages of 4-7, police said. Investigators believe she was killed between the summer of 2010 to 2011, the release said.
An autopsy revealed the child had suffered more than 15 fractures to her skull, arms, legs, shoulders and ribs, all attributed to blunt force trauma, the release said. The injuries all showed signs of healing and police said they occurred sometime prior to her death. A medical examiner also concluded she may have been malnourished and blind in her left eye due to a fractured eye socket, according to police.
In October, with the help of DNA genealogy, investigators were able to identify Lamar Vickerstaff as Baby Jane Doe’s father, police said.
When investigators visited the Vickerstaffs’ home in Jacksonville, Florida, to notify the father of her death, the father did not provide them with the child’s name or information about her identity, police said. Ruth Vickerstaff, who has been married to Lamar since 2006, also told police she never knew the child and did not know who her mother could be, according to the release.
In December, investigators narrowed down possible matches for the girl’s mother to Sherry Wiggins, who confirmed she gave birth to the child in January 2006 and named her Amore Joveah Wiggins, the release said. She also said the Vickerstaffs obtained sole custody of Amore in 2009, it said.
After reaching out to schools and pediatric clinics in several states where the Vickerstaffs have lived, detectives learned that Amore had never been enrolled in school or reported missing, police said.
Lamar and Ruth Vickerstaff were arrested in Jacksonville on Tuesday and are being held at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office pending extradition back to Alabama, the release said.
The investigation is still ongoing and police have asked the public to come forward with any information about the Vickerstaffs’ relationship with Amore or her time spent in Opelika.
CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe contributed to this report.