In 1960, a child’s body was found by a school teacher looking for rocks in a remote part of the Arizona desert. 62 years later, investigators announced on Tuesday, March 15 2022 that using DNA technology, they were finally able to identify 'Little Miss Nobody' as four-year-old Sharon Lee Gallegos of New Mexico.
Sharon was kidnapped while playing with two other children from her grandmother’s backyard in Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 21 1960. Witnesses said a dark green sedan, a 1951 or 1952 Plymouth, pulled up with a man, woman, and possibly a freckle-faced child inside.
The woman asked Sharon to get into the car, offering to buy her clothes and candy. When the girl refused, the stranger ‘grabbed her arm and dragged her into the car’, and they drove away.
Suspects never found
The woman and her male companion had allegedly been stalking Sharon for a week. 10 days later, a child’s body was found partially buried in Congress, Arizona, 500 miles away. The suspects were never found.
Local community members in Prescott, Arizona, raised money to hold a funeral for the unidentified child. The gravestone reads:
Little Miss Nobody. Blessed are the Pure in Heart.
Sharon Lee Gallegos was ruled out as the victim during initial stages of the investigation due to uncertainty over the dead child's age. It was believed that the child was seven years old. In addition, footprint comparisons and descriptions of the girl’s clothes did not match up.
The case went cold until 2015, when her remains were exhumed so investigators could extract DNA. It’s the oldest cold case solved for both the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
No longer 'Little Miss Nobody'
The sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook:
The unidentified little girl who won the hearts of Yavapai County in 1960 and who occupied the minds and time of YCSO and partners for 62 years, will now rightfully be given her name back and will no longer need to be referred to as Little Miss Nobody.
However, the sheriff’s office said it is continuing to investigate the identity of the kidnappers and what happened in the 10 days between when Sharon was abducted and when her body was discovered.
Lt. Tom Boelts said:
There is a lot of work that is still yet to be done. This is the first step.
Sharon's mother and grandmother have since died, but her nephew Ray Chavez thanked authorities for not giving up:
I wanted to be here to thank everybody, to thank the sheriff’s office for relentlessly not giving this up… It’s amazing the work that you did for our family to be at peace.