Memorial service to be held in 35-year-old 'Baby Doe' case

SHELBY COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - It's heartbreaking to think about - a baby lying in the Columbiana city cemetery with no name and no family to visit her.

But it's the reality for "Baby Doe".

She was found 35 years ago in November 1982 when a worker at the Shelby County landfill made the devastating discovery.

"The autopsy was showed the baby was two days old. They believed it was a live birth," says investigator Jim Dormuth.

Based on the section of the landfill where the baby was found, investigators at the time believed she belonged to someone in the city.

"The investigation in 1982 was exhaustive and thorough, but they never found anyone family or friends who knew who she was," Dormuth says. "So the case went cold."

That is until 2013 when the Shelby County Sheriff's cold case unit reopened it.

The five-man team admits this case is unique with it involving such a young child, but they are hoping the passage time will provide answers.

"Time often changes relationships and minds so people who have been reluctant to come forward then may be more inclined to do so now," Dormuth says.

Shortly after her discovery, "Baby Doe" was buried in a pauper's grave in the city cemetery.

Next Wednesday, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office will hold a memorial service for "Baby Doe" and place a permanent marker at her gravesite.

It's an effort to honor her life and more, Dormuth says. "The child needs to be identified and receive a proper acknowledgement. And we need to learn what happened to her. As with any human being, that needs to be known."

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