*UPDATE: The Smyrna Police Department have revealed the identity of Baby Elle: Emma Grace Cole.*
On September 13, 2019, a man walking his dog at the Smyrna-Clayton Little Lass Softball Park in Smyrna, Kent County, Delaware uncovered skeletal human remains. Found above ground at the edge of the complex, they were located near trees and a body of water.
The softball park, which is said to be well-trafficked, features numerous sports fields and is located on Duck Creek Parkway. It’s across from both Smyrna Middle School and Smyrna High School.
It proved difficult to determine a time of death upon the remains being brought in for examination. They were eventually determined to be that of a young female and it’s believed she had died anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months before being found.
As little information has been released regarding the case, Jane Doe’s cause of death is currently unknown.
The investigation into Jane Doe’s death involved numerous law enforcement agencies. While the Smyrna Police Department headed up the investigation, assistance was also received from the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, and from members of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. As well, investigators reached out to police departments from across the region and in other states.
The area in which Jane Doe’s remains were located was scoured for evidence, with investigators putting up tents and tarps to help preserve anything of interest. They also closed off Duck Creek Parkway from Duck Creek Road to Smyrna High School. During this time, evidence was uncovered to show a fire had been set at or near the scene. However, it’s not been specified if the fire was intentionally set or if it’s related to the case. Much of the evidence collected from the softball park was sent to the Delaware Division of Forensic Sciences for examination.
As there were no reports of missing children in the region, the Smyrna Police Department asked for the assistance of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The organization helped create composite images of what Jane Doe might have looked like while alive.
Currently, investigators are still trying to establish a timeline for how long Jane Doe’s remains had been at the softball park. They have stated that they would be withholding certain details surrounding the case, in order to keep the integrity of the investigation.
Jane Doe is described as being either white or Hispanic. She is believed to have been younger that 10 years old, possibly between the ages of 2 and 5. Given the state of the remains, her height and weight are unknown. She is said to have had slightly wavy light brown hair, and her eye colour was unable to be determined.
An anthropological exam of the remains suggested she’d suffered from a chronic illness or illnesses.
1) Dulce Maria Alavez, who went missing from Bridgeton, New Jersey on September 16, 2019.
CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:
Those with information regarding the identity of Jane Doe are asked to contact the Smyrna Police Department at either 302-653-9217, 302-653-3490 or 302-653-3488. Tips can also be called into the Delaware Division of Forensic Sciences at 302-577-3420 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-847-7333.
Image Credit: NCMEC