After 35 years, the previously unidentified Baby Jane Doe, a 5-year-old girl encased in concrete, has been identified as Kenyatta “KeKe” Odom. Authorities in Georgia announced the arrest of the girl’s mother, Evelyn Odom (also known as Zmecca Luciana), aged 56, and her then-boyfriend, Ulyster Sanders, aged 61, in connection with the case.
The revelation came during a news conference in Waycross, Georgia, where the Georgia Bureau of Investigation disclosed that Kenyatta’s body was discovered on December 21, 1988, in Millwood, Ware County. Special Agent in Charge Jason Seacrist detailed the gruesome discovery, explaining that the young girl’s remains were found in an old TV cabinet, wrapped in a blanket, placed in a duffel bag, and surrounded by concrete at an illegal dumping site.
Evelyn Odom and Ulyster Sanders, both residing in Albany, Georgia, were arrested without incident on November 9. The charges against them include felony murder, child cruelty in the first degree, aggravated battery, concealing the death, and conspiracy to conceal the death.
As the suspects remain in police custody, the search for the girl’s father is underway. Seacrist expressed relief at the breakthrough, stating, “Finally after 35 years not only were we able to identify the remains of who ‘Baby Jane Doe’ was, but we were also able to make the arrest of who we believe were responsible.”
The initial discovery in 1988 yielded an Albany Herald newspaper near the body, leading investigators to Albany, 100 miles west of Millwood. Despite extensive efforts, including forensic testing and national media coverage, the child remained unidentified until 2019. Modern DNA tracing techniques were then employed to link the child to a family in the Albany area.
The pivotal breakthrough occurred in 2022 after a public tip following news coverage of the case’s anniversary. In June of the same year, Kenyatta was positively identified. Seacrist credited a tipster who had heard the story and believed she knew the little girl’s identity. This person recalled a missing child whose mother claimed she had gone to live with her father, a story that the tipster doubted.
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During the news conference, Seacrist acknowledged an anonymous local donor who contributed a $5,000 reward for information related to the “Ware County Baby Jane Doe” case. Ware County Sheriff Carl James, one of the detectives called to the scene 35 years ago, emphasized the ongoing dedication of investigators to cold cases, noting that progress might not be visible to the public for months or even years.