Homicide victim known as ‘Little Miss Nobody’ finally has a name
PRESCOTT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday officially identified “Little Miss Nobody” roughly 60 years after her remains found in Congress at the Sand Wash Creek on July 31, 1960. It was DNA analysis that led to the identification.
‘Little Miss Nobody’ has been identified as 4-year-old Sharon Lee Gallegos. YCSO says she was abducted from Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 21, 1960, and was found 10 days later in Congress, Arizona. Sharon was playing outside her grandmother’s house when she was kidnapped. It’s still not clear what happened in the 10 days between her abduction and when her remains were discovered. At the time, investigators believed Sharon’s remains had been buried a week or two before she was found. It’s also not clear how Sharon came to be in Congress, which is more than 530 miles west of Alamogordo on Interstate 10, which wasn’t complete in 1960.
YCSO praised the original investigators on the case, saying their meticulous scene preservation and evidence collection made it possible for Sharon to be identified decades later. DNA was not regularly used by law enforcement investigators until the 1980s, more than 20 years after Sharon was found.
How ‘Little Miss Nobody’ was identified after 62 years
Othram, the company that ultimately identified Sharon, works exclusively with DNA to extract data that helps solve cold cases. “Othram is the first private laboratory built to apply the power of modern parallel sequencing to forensic evidence,” according to Othram’s website. “Our scientists are experts at the recovery, enrichment, and analysis of human DNA from trace amounts of degraded or contaminated materials. We help investigators break through previously impenetrable forensic DNA barriers and close previously unsolvable cases.”
Lt. Tom Boelts shares the story of Sharon Lee Gallegos
One of the people who attended and spoke at the press conference was Sharon’s nephew, Ray Chavez. He was born five years after Sharon was abducted and wanted to be there for his mother and grandmother who died without learning about what happened to Sharon. Sharon’s family was told she had been on Friday, March 11, 2022. Ray says Sharon’s brother is still alive and living outside of the country. They will be coordinating over Zoom to think about and plan what they want to do with a final resting place for Sharon.
“She was feisty,” Sharon’s nephew says
Raising the money for the DNA test
YCSO announced in January 2022 that they were raising funds to be able to pay for DNA analysis to finally give a proper name to the little girl and to give her family some closure after all this time. The Sheriff’s Office says it committed $1,000 and asked for the community to raise the remaining $4,000 to solve the case of “Little Miss Nobody.” In less than 24 hours, YCSO and a Texas DNA company called Othram raised enough money to fund the specialized testing.
Despite multiple leads, the case has remained unsolved over 60 years later. In 2018, investigators exhumed her body to get a DNA sample, and a phenotype image — a computer-generated image of what she might have looked like based on her remains — was created to inspire new tips. Last year, cold case investigators wanted to start using genome sequencing and DNA testing to identify her, but they still needed money to fund the testing.
Investigators at that time had believed that her remains were buried about a week or two before they were found, but investigators couldn’t find any injuries to her body. Ultimately, it was ruled a homicide and the case got national attention.
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