Remains of Alabama baby found dead in trash dump more than 40 years ago exhumed in hopes DNA will lead to identity

Published 1:12 pm Saturday, December 2, 2023

Alabama officials hope that advancements in DNA technology will help them identify an infant found dead four decades ago left at a trash dump wrapped in a lady’s housecoat and placed in a cardboard box.

The remains of the infant, who was found dead in an old trash dump in the Pleasant Grove community in February of 1982 have been exhumed to retrieve DNA.

The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office reports that investigators worked very hard on the case, but were never able to generate any usable leads as to the identity of the child or the parents.

The body of the baby, which appeared to be a newborn, that had been birthed at full-term, was autopsied, and then returned to the Marshall County Coroner’s Office. The child was buried in the Crestview Cemetery in Guntersville under the name of Angel Jane Doe.

While working with an outside DNA contractor on another case, this case was brought to the attention of current Sheriff’s Investigators. Sheriff’s Investigators, the Marshall County Coroner’s Office, and the District Attorney’s Office began working to identify the child and bring some closure to this case.

With advancements in DNA technology, it was determined that Genetic Genealogy testing would be the best course of action.

Coroner Cody Nugent was able to secure an exhumation order for the remains, and on November 30, 2023; Sheriff’s Investigators, DA Investigators, and the coroner’s office retrieved the remains of Angel Jane Doe from Crestview Cemetery. The remains will be sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for DNA retrieval.

We recently had success with genetic genealogy in another case, and are hopeful that the same technology can be used to help resolve this case as well. This is a process that can take a few months to several years.

At this point, our focus is on the identification of the child and the family, as it would be a tremendous relief to not only local law enforcement but the community as well.

We urge anyone with information regarding baby Angel Doe to contact Marshall County Sheriff’s Investigators at 256-582-2034.