Authorities identified her as Sharon Lee Gallegos during a news conference held on March 15, 2022.
Sixty-two years ago, a school teacher looking for rocks in an Arizona desert made a horrific discovery.
Instead of what they were looking for, they came across the burned remains of a young girl. Her identity was a mystery and investigators called her "Little Miss Nobody."
Since then, for decades, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office in Prescott, Arizona, along with the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children, National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, and a long list of other partners, have been working to identify the little girl. But despite multiple leads at the time, the case had remained unsolved, according to CNN.
Now, after over 6 decades, thanks to advanced technology, the girl has a name. Authorities identified her as Sharon Lee Gallegos during a news conference held on March 15, 2022. It is the oldest cold case the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office has resolved.
In 1960, a child’s body was found in Arizona. Using DNA technology, investigators have finally identified her as Sharon Lee Gallegos, age 4.— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 15, 2022
It is the oldest cold case that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has ever helped solve. https://t.co/IC4QR2Q3X4
Gallegos, who was four years old back then, was abducted while playing in her grandmother's backyard in Alamagordo, New Mexico, on July 21, 1960, authorities said. She was taken by "a couple who had been stalking her," according to the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children.
Witnesses said a woman, a man, and possibly one freckle-faced child drove up to the children in a dark green early-1950s sedan, Yavapai officials said. When Sharon refused the woman's offer of clothes and candy, she pulled the 4-year-old girl into the car and drove away, per NBC News.
According to Sky News, a gravestone, paid for at the time by local people who held a funeral, reads: "Little Miss Nobody. Blessed are the Pure in Heart... St. Matthew 5:8."
Who is “Little Miss Nobody” in this decades old AZ homicide case— Linda Fox 10 (@lindawfox10) March 14, 2022
Tuesday, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s office reveals her identity.
Her body was found outside Congress Az, in 1960
No one ever reported her missing or I-D’d her.
BTW - she was always somebody.#fox10phoenix pic.twitter.com/bNsj8xi652
While the girl's parents are no longer alive, her nephew Ray Chavez thanked the authorities for not giving up. "We were known as that family who had a little girl kidnapped," Chavez said. "Thank you for what you have done for us. Thank you for keeping my aunt safe and never forgetting her. It's amazing the work that you did for our family to be at peace."
He said his family had always described her as a happy-go-lucky girl.
During initial investigations back in 1960, Sharon Lee Gallegos was ruled out as the victim due to uncertainty over the child's age, the clothing she was wearing and a footprint at the scene.
COLD CASE IDENTITY: For 62 years the family of 4-yr-old Sharon Gallegos didn't know what happened to her after she was abducted playing outside her grandma's home.— Briana Whitney (@BrianaWhitney) March 16, 2022
Now she's been identified as the girl known as "Little Miss Nobody" since 1960. Her story⬇️https://t.co/bGYlRZmWZJ pic.twitter.com/49JdNFrpiU
Since there were no leads or clues, the case went cold until 2018—when her remains were exhumed—and it is still open because there is hope that the killers can one day be identified.
Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes said he was glad they "did not let go until the unfortunate moniker of Little Miss Nobody could be removed from the headstone".
Cover Image Source: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children