BERKELEY, Mo.(KSDK) - There was clapping as a 55-inch wood container was loaded onto a gurney and into a vehicle at the Washington Park Cemetery near Berkeley Monday afternoon.
A volunteer at the site told NewsChannel 5they found the remains believed to be of Jane Doe (Hope) who died 30 years ago and was buried at the cemetery. Crews opened the box and found remains inside and a headwas missing. Forensics will have to be conducted to know for certain.
The St. Louis City Medical Examiner's Office, St. Louis City Police Department, Washington University Research Lab and a representative from University of Notre Dame Anthropology have been working to exhume the remains because they believe it is cruel for an abandoned child to remain buried in an abandoned cemetery.
The unidentified girl's body was found in a vacant building on Clemens in 1983. Authorities guessed the child was no younger than eight, no older than 11. She had been sexually assaulted, strangled and decapitated. Authorities hoped someone would recognize her clothes. She was never identified and her killer was never found.
The unidentified girl was buried in Washington Park Cemetery in Berkeley. Over the years, the cemetery became abandoned and rundown. In 2009, police went to exhume her body so they could give her a proper burial in a section known as the "Garden of Innocents" in Calvary Cemetery, located on West Florissant road in north St. Louis. The recovery never happened because the body was not where the headstone was. In 2009, police told NewsChannel 5 that her headstone was added well after she was buried and that could explain the confusion.
Calvin Whitaker with the Missouri Funeral Directors Association said they believe they located where the girl might be buried in the cemetery. Whitaker said researchers at Washington University used old pictures to try and pinpoint the exact location.
Whitaker said if they are able to exhume the remains, it will be given to the St. Louis City Medical Examiner's office in hopes they can use modern technology to finally identify the victim.