MS DELTA DAWN: WF, 1-2, found in river near Moss Point / Escatawpa, MS - 5 Dec 1982 *ALISHA ANN HEINRICH*

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On December 5, 1982 the body of an unidentified child was found in thick brush along the Escatawpa River, beneath the Westbound lanes of Interstate 10 in Jackson County, MS. The body was that of a white female, approximately 18 months old. She had been deceased less than two days before being found. The child was approximately 2’5" tall and weighed around 25 pounds. Her eye color was indecipherable but was possibly brown or blue. Her hair color was strawberry blonde. The child was found wearing a pink and white checkered "Cradle Togs" dress or shirt and a disposable diaper. She had 12 teeth and appeared to have been well-nourished and cared for. Witnesses recall seeing a young adult female, carrying a baby walking along the Interstate a few nights prior to when her body was found. Authorities believe the baby seen by witnesses could be this unidentified child. The adult female has never been located or identified. The image above is a facial reconstruction completed by a NCMEC Forensic Artist and depicts what the child may have looked like in life.

NCMEC -

Date of Discovery: December 5, 1982
Location of Discovery: Escatawpa, Jackson County, Mississippi
Estimated Date of Death: 36-48 hours prior
State of Remains: Recognizable face
Cause of Death: Homicide by forced drowning

Estimated Age: 1-2 years old
Race: White
Sex: Female
Height: 2'5" to 2'6
Weight: 20 to 25 lbs.
Hair Color: Strawberry blond
Eye Color: Unknown, possibly brown or blue.
Distinguishing Marks/Features: Unknown

Dentals: Not available. 12 baby teeth had grown in at the time of her death.
Fingerprints: Unknown (sources differ)
DNA: Available.

Clothing: Cradle Togs pink and white dress which buttoned in the back and a disposable diaper. Some reports state that she was wearing a red and white checkered dress or shirt.

Circumstances of Discovery
The child's body was located in the Dog River beneath the westbound lane of I-10 in Pascagoula. She was apparently thrown off the Interstate 10 bridge. Her body was found when a truck driver reported a body of an adult wearing a blue plaid shirt and blue jeans floating in the river. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office believes the body is the mother of the child found floating in the river. Detectives said the theory is based on the fact that a woman, who was obviously distressed and carrying a child, was seen walking on Interstate-10 on the previous Friday night. This is further confirmed by a Moss Point woman who was monitoring CB conversations that night. She said "truckers were 'raising-a-boat-load-of-Hell' between midnight Friday and 1 AM. Saturday because a woman and child were walking on the interstate and refused to let anyone help her."

Authorities said a woman wearing a blue plaid shirt and blue jeans and carrying a child was seen near the scales at the Alabama line walking west on the interstate. She was reported walking in the westbound lane. A man who saw the woman said a pickup truck stopped but she refused to get into the truck.

Authorities speculate the woman may have thrown the child into the water and then jumped. The baby still had a breath of life because she had sucked in some of the murky water into her lungs.

The body of the woman was never recovered nor has she been identified.

The unidentified toddler is buried in Jackson County Memorial Park. Deputy Moore and his wife stepped forward and made sure the little girl was given a proper funeral and burial in 1982. 200 people attended the young girl's funeral.

Doe Network -
 
Last edited:

Akoya

Well-known member

Voice Of The Victims
Historical Missing Persons & Unsolved Murder cases

Friday, September 18, 2015



"Delta Dawn" is the nickname of an unidentified decedent found in Moss Point, Mississippi in late 1982. The child was a murder victim, as she had both been smothered and drowned shortly before her body was found in the Escatawpa River.



Born: 1980 - 1981 (approximate)
Status: Unidentified for 32 years, 9 months and 13 days
Died: December 3 or 4, 1982 Moss Point, Jackson County, Mississippi, United States
Cause of Death: Drowning
Body Discovered: December 5, 1982
Resting Place: Jackson County Memorial Park, Moss Point, Mississippi, United States
Height: 2 ft 5 in (0.74 m) - 2 ft 6 in (0.76 m)
Weight: 20 lb (9.1 kg) - 25 lb (11 kg)


A Little Bit About The 'Delta Dawn' Case
It is believed that the girl was seen with an adult female within two days before the body was located in Moss Point, Jackson County, Mississippi. The woman, who was carrying the child, was walking above a bridge near the area. The adult, possibly the girl's mother, was walking between midnight and one o'clock in the morning two days prior, that was acting distressed but would not accept help from passing vehicles. Within two days after the sightings, a man called police to report the discovery of a body in the river, clothed in a blue plaid shirt, which is now presumed to be the adult.Authorities responded and soon arrived at the scene, located along interstate 10, but instead came across the child's body. The sheriff that found the baby's body had initially mistaken the body to have belonged to his daughter, that apparently bore a strong resemblance to Delta Dawn, who was later found to be alive and well at his residence.The adult's corpse was never found and she has never been located alive.



An autopsy performed on the Jane Doe's body concluded that she had been alive when she entered the water, as evidence in her lungs indicated that she drowned, although someone had attempted to smother her before she entered the river. The official cause of her death was concluded to have been due to inhaling the water upon impacting its surface. Delta Dawn was a healthy toddler between the ages of one and two years old, most likely at the age of eighteen months. Twelve of her teeth had erupted at the time of her death, which influenced the age estimation. The girl had curly strawberry-blond hair and was of Caucasian heritage. Because of the amount of time she was in the water, her eyes had clouded to the point where estimating the exact color was very difficult, but it was believed that they were either blue or brown. Despite that her eyes had been damaged by exposure to the elements, her face was still stated to be in a "recognizable" condition. She was around two feet six inches and weighed around twenty-five pounds. The girl wore a pink and white checkered dress or shirt, decorated with three flowers on its front, along with a diaper.

Extensive searches have been conducted in hopes to find the body of the woman that had initially been found prior to Delta Dawn's, which has been fruitless. Several scenarios have been conceived, some believing that, if the woman seen with the baby was indeed her mother, had caused the victim's death and subsequently committed suicide. Another revolves around a woman that had stopped by the sheriffs office, describing that she had "given away" her child to a group of men. Officers speculated that the individual could have been the child's mother, yet it was eventually learned that the subject requesting assistance had a male child.



The victim was adopted posthumously by a police officer and his wife, who funded the victim's funeral and burial. The victim's nickname was coined by his wife. She is buried in the Jackson County Cemetery. In 2007, a graveside memorial service was conducted in memory of the victim.

Since her discovery, the girl was reconstructed forensically in efforts to identify her through recognition. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has released two illustrations and other artists have also produced their own renderings.

The Doe Network: Case File: 45UFMS
NCMEC - 'Jane Doe 1982' - Delta Dawn
NamUs - NamUs UP # 12191 - Delta Dawn Case

 

GrandmaBear

NEXT THE PACK HOSTS THE NFC TITLE GAME!!
None of the reports make sense to me. A woman was reported in one river in a plaid shirt but they went to another river and found a child but never found the woman? The sheriff thought the recovered child was his own daughter?? Weird....
 

Kimster

Let's Find Michael Bryson!
Staff member
None of the reports make sense to me. A woman was reported in one river in a plaid shirt but they went to another river and found a child but never found the woman? The sheriff thought the recovered child was his own daughter?? Weird....
From what I recall, they thought the woman who threw the child in the river jumped into the river herself, but they never did find a body. And I always thought that the sheriff thought she "looked" like his own daughter, but maybe I was assuming too much? :unsure:
 

GrandmaBear

NEXT THE PACK HOSTS THE NFC TITLE GAME!!
From what I recall, they thought the woman who threw the child in the river jumped into the river herself, but they never did find a body. And I always thought that the sheriff thought she "looked" like his own daughter, but maybe I was assuming too much? :unsure:

Like you said it was a well publicized case and I remember what you just said in bits and pieces too, and thought the sheriff's remark meant that too. My memory fails me but what you are saying has a ring of what I thought too. But it was interesting when I read the bit here, and read the start of the case here cold and not remembering the case, the accounts strike me a little different than I think I thought back when. Maybe the fact it was just a couple of accounts here that those things kind of jumped out at me?
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member

Sheriff to announce new information in “Baby Jane Doe” death case nearly 4 decades old​

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office says it will release new information this week on a child death mystery that has haunted the area for nearly 4 decades.

The sheriff’s office says it will not release any new information until Friday. WKRG New 5 will be at the news conference on Friday and bring it to you LIVE on WKRG.com and the WKRG News 5 Facebook page.
 

Whatsnext

Justice for Gannon 💙

After 38 years, Delta Dawn's name was restored as Alisha Ann Heinrich, daughter of Gwendolyn Clemons, both of whom vanished in 1982

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THE WOODLANDS, Texas December 04, 2020
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department Partners with Othram to Identify Mississippi’s Delta Dawn

One morning in December 1982, a truck driver notified the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department of a possible sighting of a body in the Escatawpa River off the Interstate-10 bridge near Moss Point, Mississippi. Responding deputies recovered the remains of a female toddler caught in the brush downriver from where the sighting was reported. The Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the child had died hours earlier, but the case soon went cold as investigators were unable to identify the child or locate her family.
Over the decades that followed investigators worked available leads to determine the child's identity, nicknamed Delta Dawn. Since 2002, The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has been assisting the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, applying their case management, Team Adam, and analytical and forensic resources to help advance the investigation. In 2014, a NCMEC forensic artist created a facial reconstruction of what the child may have looked like and distributed the image across social media in hopes someone would recognize her.
In 2019, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department brought Delta Dawn's remains to Othram in hopes that new genetic testing methods would generate leads to help identify her. Othram's forensic scientists applied proprietary enrichment methods and Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to produce a genetic profile suitable for genealogical research that led to new investigative leads. In a collaborative effort with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department and the FBI, candidate family members were identified and confirmed through additional DNA testing at Othram. After 38 years, Delta Dawn's name was restored as Alisha Ann Heinrich, daughter of Gwendolyn Clemons, both of whom vanished in 1982. Othram also wishes to express gratitude to Catherine Serbousek, who generously funded the project.
The Jackson County Sheriff's Department continues to investigate Alisha's death and the disappearance of her mother. Anyone with information that could assist either investigation should contact the Jackson County Sheriff's Department at (228) 769-3063.


About Othram Inc.​

Othram is the world’s first private DNA laboratory built specifically to apply the power of modern parallel sequencing to forensic evidence. Othram’s scientists are experts at recovery, enrichment, and analysis of human DNA from trace quantities of degraded or contaminated materials. Founded in 2018, and located in The Woodlands, Texas, our team works with academic researchers, forensic scientists, medical examiners, and law enforcement agencies to achieve results when other approaches fail. Follow Othram on Twitter @OthramTech or visit Othram.com to learn how we can help you with your case. Visit dnasolves.com to learn how anyone can make a difference in helping solve the next cold case.
 
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Kimster

Let's Find Michael Bryson!
Staff member
Gwendolyn is listed on NamUS.


GWENDOLYN.jpg


Last seen in Kansas City, Missouri on or about November 24, 1982. Possible sighting in Jackson County Mississippi near the Alabama State line on the night of December 3, 1982.


So, someone did see her in Mississippi at some point.
 

GrandmaBear

NEXT THE PACK HOSTS THE NFC TITLE GAME!!
WOW! They did it! :highfive:

The article didn't say if her mother had been reported missing? I wonder if she's a Jane Doe in the area, too?
Witnesses had seen a woman walking with a baby. Now with this, I wonder what they will find out about the mother and whether someone killed her... Or was reported missing as you say. Or if she possibly killed herself (and has not been found) and the child... Was the child even reported missing?
 

Kimster

Let's Find Michael Bryson!
Staff member
Witnesses had seen a woman walking with a baby. Now with this, I wonder what they will find out about the mother and whether someone killed her... Or was reported missing as you say. Or if she possibly killed herself (and has not been found) and the child... Was the child even reported missing?
Mom was, yes. I just posted about her as you were posting. :)
 

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