Closure to the 1982 Baby Jane cold case

In December 1982, an 18-month-old girl was found in the Escatawpa River with no trace of where she came from.

Now, nearly 40 years later, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department identified Baby Jane as Alisha Ann Heinrich and today they were able to give her the proper burial.

Prayers, flowers, and closure to an unsolved cold case brought peace to the Jackson County community that’s been fighting for answers to the Baby Jane case of 1982.

Virgil Moore adopted Baby Jane when she was set to settle in an unmarked grave. He believed she deserved more and gave her a proper funeral and burial. Without knowing her birth name, he called her Baby Jane.

Watching the story come full circle, Moore lives to see his baby identified.  He fell in love with a baby he never got to meet. Now almost 40 years later, Virgil Moore gets to witness the headstone of baby Alisha Heinrich engraved with her own name. “Although she wasn’t my birthed baby, she got so close to me you know because over the many years. When I first looked at that marker when it came in, I couldn’t help but tear up.”

Community efforts from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Virgil Moore and his family, investigators, and internet support helped push for answers in Alisha Heinrich’s case. Redgrave Research Forensic Science Investigative Genetic Genealogist Olivia McCarter said, “I’m used to working on cases and they don’t have any family anymore and nobody really cares about them, but it’s the complete opposite with Alisha. The complete opposite, she’s got family in Pascagoula who’ve always been her family.”

Over 38 years, she was never forgotten. “A number of people has come by here, people I’ve never seen putting flowers on the grave.”

Investigators say with new DNA technology, unidentified cold cases are being solved within two to three months. “We built out those DNA matches as family trees, found out exactly where Alisha would fit in, and we had the case solved in 52 days.”

With one Baby Jane solved, now Baby Jane II hopes to be identified next. “We exhumed baby Jane II, two weeks ago, so she is currently at the Mississippi State Crime Lab. She’s going to be sent for extraction at DNA labs International shortly.”

Baby Alishia Heinrich is finally laid to rest. The words on her original head stone read ‘Known only to God,’ while the inscription on the new headstone reads ‘today, she is known to all.’

Categories: Local News, News