PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — “Little Miss Nobody” finally has a name.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s office said Tuesday the previously unidentified little girl whose burned remains were found over 60 years ago in the Arizona desert was 4-year-old Sharon Lee Gallegos, of New Mexico.
The child’s remains were found on July 31, 1960, partially buried in a wash in Congress, Arizona. Her age at various times over the years was estimated to be between 6 and 8 years old, then later at between 3 and 6 years old.
Residents in the nearby central-north Arizona community of Prescott raised money for a funeral and florists and a mortuary donated their services for the little girl they had dubbed “Little Miss Nobody.”
News reports at the time said a local radio announcer and his wife stood in for the girl’s parents during the funeral at Prescott’s Congregational Church.
“I guess I just couldn’t stand to see a little child buried in boot hill,” KYCA announcer Dave Paladin was quoted as saying in an Aug. 11, 1960 article by The Associated Press.
Sharon Lee Gallegos was reportedly abducted from behind her home in Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 21, 1960, a little over a week before her body was found. Authorities say they do not know who took and killed the child.
The remains were exhumed to get DNA samples and the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System and others worked on the case.
The sheriff’s office and Texas DNA company Othram raised $4,000 earlier this year to pay for specialized testing that finally identified the girl.
Ray Chavez, the child’s nephew, thanked authorities at the news conference for not giving up their quest to identify his aunt. He said she had been described to him as a happy-go-lucky girl.
“We were amazed how the people rallied around her,” Chavez said. “Thank you for keeping my aunt safe and never forgetting her.”