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Georgia mother, stepfather charged with murder in 35-year-old 'Baby Jane Doe' case

On Monday, Georgia authorities identified "Baby Jane Doe," whose body was found in 1988, as Kenyatta Odom, 5. Her mother Evelyn Odom and stepfather Ulyster Sanders face murder charges.

Thirty-five years after her body was found in a cement-filled suitcase in an abandoned TV console, a small Georgia girl was finally named – and her mother and stepfather have been indicted on murder charges, police said Monday.

The girl, known just as "Baby Jane Doe" since road workers in December 1988 discovered her body, was identified as five-year-old Kenyatta "Keke" Odom by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at a Monday press conference.

The girl's mother, Evelyn Odom a.k.a. Zmecca Luciana, 56, and stepfather Ulyster Sanders, 61, have been indicted on felony charges of murder, first-degree cruelty to children in the first degree, aggravated battery, concealing the death of another person, and conspiracy to conceal the death of another person, per a press release distributed by the agency.

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"Finally, after almost 35 years, not only were we able to identify Baby Jane Doe, but we are able to make an arrest for those responsible for her death," agents said at the Monday conference.

Odom and Sanders put the child in scalding water, per the indictment obtained by WSB-TV, disfiguring her legs and feet – and ultimately causing her death. 

They then wrapped her body in a baby blanket, shoved her into a gym bag, encased her in concrete inside a suitcase and left her inside a dumped TV console about two hours from their Albany home.

The girl's body wasn't discovered for about three months. Initially, investigators believed that "Baby Jane Doe" was between three and four years old when she died, per reporting by Fox 5 Atlanta.

A GBI medical examiner determined the girl's manner of death to be homicide, agents said Monday.

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Evidence found near the crime scene led investigators to suspect that the child may have a connection to the Albany area, GBI agents said. But little additional evidence was gleaned from available forensic testing, national media coverage and comparisons to reported missing children in and out of state. 

Using genome sequencing, a possible family tree for the long-unnamed child was determined in the Albany area in 2019, per the agency press release. 

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But investigators didn't get the lead they needed until a tipster called following a news story run on the anniversary of the girl's death in 2022. Based on that tip, investigators learned the girl's name, they wrote – the nature of the tip was not divulged. 

On November 1, the GBI presented their case to a jury in Dougherty County. Last Thursday, Odom and Sanders were arrested without incident, the agency wrote.

In their press release, GBI agents thanked a private donor who offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the child's identification. 

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