Drawings Created From Child’s Remains
Hamilton, N.J. - New Jersey State Police have now developed two composite drawings based on skeletonized remains of a child that were found in 2005. Detectives hope that the public will recognize these images and help solve this years-old mystery.
The remains were discovered on Friday, March 18, 2005 by a hunter walking near Route 526 in Clayton Park, Upper Freehold Township, Monmouth County. The hunter discovered the partially buried skull and jawbone in some tall grass. Troopers called to the scene confirmed the find and called State Police Forensic Anthropologist Donna Fontana to excavate the site. In addition to a complete skeleton, Fontana and detectives discovered a child’s black Nike Air Force One shoe and a piece of canvas material, possibly from a handbag or book bag, with a distinctive print of Sylvester the Cat, a Warner Brothers cartoon character.
Working with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the State Police’s Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Major Crimes Unit, and Missing Persons and Child Exploitation Unit, Hamilton Station detectives have continued the investigation since the time of the discovery.
State Police detectives from Hamilton Station sent a femur and a rib bone for nuclear STR and mitochondrial DNA analysis, which indicates that the victim is a female, probably a black female. Fontana examined the skeleton and a forensic dentist charted and x-rayed the teeth. The results indicate that the victim is between five and nine years old. She is believed to have died between 2001 and 2004. The cause of death has not been determined.
Evidence gleaned from the child’s teeth show that she probably lived within a community that offered fluorinated water rather than well water. She also had no sign of fillings or other dental work.
Two images of the child’s face have been created. One picture is a computer-generated image based on a CAT scan of the child’s skull made by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The other is a technical drawing by a New Jersey State Police artist with training in this specialized field. The difference between the two pictures gives a useful range of looks, depicting the possible age range for the girl.
“It’s almost school time again, and we hope these images will trigger someone’s memory of a child that disappeared between three to seven years ago without an adequate explanation,” said Lt. William Sykes of the Troop C Criminal Investigations Office.
Detectives have set up a phone line to receive tips on this child’s identity. Personnel have been placed on standby to immediately pursue any leads that may be generated by the public. Information can be given confidentially, if needed.
The tip line to reach State Police detectives with information on this case is 1-866-657-7411. The facial images, a photo of a shoe similar to the one found, as well as a photo of the Sylvester-printed piece of canvas will be posted on the State Police website at njsp.org later today.
“This is a very solvable case if the right people see these images,” said Lt. Colonel Gayle Cameron, Deputy Superintendent of Investigations. “Until then, the tragic death of this child will be on the minds and hearts of our detectives working this case.”
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