Cold Case Files: Baby Jane Doe
The victims in cold case investigations in North Central Florida range in age from senior citizens to infants. Even the youngest victims have a story to be told.
What happens if you have a victim but you don't know their name? On an adult, you might find identification in a wallet or dental records to help answer that question. But those methods won't work with a newborn infant.
This is the investigation into the death of Baby Jane Doe.
For the first time we can show you a photo of Baby Jane and investigators hope it turns out to be a clue in her death.
Between large live oaks and dogwood trees you will find an out of the way cemetery in Gainesville. Deep in the back is a small section known by some as "Babyland." It is the final resting place of Baby Jane Doe.
Her tombstone reads in part..."Step softly... A dream lies buried here"... "Known only to God"
In August of 2003, tears were shed inside a Gainesville church during a community memorial service.
Inside this casket was a baby girl. Her name was unknown, but the conviction to learn her name became the focus at the Alachua County Sheriffs Office.
Lt. Jack Jacobs says, "We need to give her back to her family. We're dealing here possibly with someone who panicked and maybe made a bad decision with an unwanted pregnancy or something happened after the child born..But now it is the time to step forward and give this child her identity."
While strangers grieved her loss, Baby Jane's family remained in the shadows.
Nine days earlier, down a long dirt road off of SR 1-21, a man was passing a pond at an old catfish farm when he saw something unusual. "We received a report of what a resident believed was a doll floating in a pond and checking it out they realized it was an infant floating face down." Says Jacobs.
But no clues were found. And despite a countywide search investigators could not locate Baby Janes birth mother.
Her DNA was placed in a national data base to run on a weekly basis and the wait began.
Answering the call to attach both a name and a face to Baby Jane became the passion of Cathy Weldon at the Alachua County Medical Examiners office.
She was the one who pulled Baby Jane's naked and lifeless body from the pond and later served as her pallbearer. Cathy says, "This was the first case that I just could not just fathom that some person just tossing away another human being and discarding it like they would their trash."
Weldon believes Baby Jane could have been in the water for up to two weeks before she was found.
She was estimated to be two to two and half months old, and 10 pounds when she was placed in the pond.
In an effort to speak for Baby Jane, Weldon enlisted the help of forensic experts at the University of North Texas to create a picture of what Baby Jane might have looked like.
Cathy Weldon has had Baby Jane's image on her mind for five and a half years.
Cathy says, "I actually even go to her grave every year to celebrate what I classify to be her birthday which is the day I found her."
This isn't the only angel that waits beside the tombstone of Baby Jane. She now joined by a team of guardian angels.
If you think you know anything about Baby Jane, you are asked to please call the Cold Case Unit at the Alachua County Sheriff's Office. You may reach them at 352-367-4161.
- For current Cold Case File click the "Features" section and click Cold Case Files. Cold Case FIles: James Tuff, Jr.
- Cold Case FIles: Brian Sweat
- Cold Case Files: Wende Elinger
- Cold Case FIles: Heather and Kira Radcliffe
- Cold Case FIles: Tiffanny Sessions
- Cold Case Files: Corey Smith
- Cold Case Files: Shane Crutchfield
- Cold Case Files: Heather & Kira Corey Smith
- Cold Case File: Cold Case Investigators
- Cold Case File: Julie Cohen