TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Facial reconstruction images has been released for a girl found last year inside a black suitcase along a highway in Madisonville, Texas.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children says a recent pollen analysis suggests she may have spent time in Southeastern Arizona.
The center created the facial reconstruction images using a CT scan of her skull. Below is a portion of the press release:
While she was found in Texas, a pollen analysis completed on her remains suggests she was from the southwest U.S. or the adjacent region in Mexico. It’s even more likely she was from southeast Arizona.
The girl was found in September 2016 and investigators believe she was between 2 and 6 years old. She has been described as a Caucasian or Hispanic girl with dark hair. When she was found she was wearing a pink dress and a diaper.
The center says the girl was found with a feeding tube and likely had a condition called micrognathia, which would have affected her ability to eat without assistance and she would have needed medical attention..
"We want to give her her name back. We want to identify her," said Carol Schweitzer, the
supervisor of forensic services unit for the center. "We want to understand where she came from and what happened to her. She deserves that dignity."
Schweitzer says the girl may have been deceased for 3 to 5 months. Authorities have not been able to match her with a missing persons report, so Schweitzer says there's a chance no one ever reported her missing.
"It's very possible that the girl died accidentally," Schweitzer said. "she had some medical conditions that you know just may not have been taken care of, or something accidentally happened to her and her family just didn't know what to do or what their resources were."
Investigator Larry Shiver with the Madison County Sheriff's Office says an autopsy was done on the girl and there were no signs of foul play. However, the death is suspicious because of the nature in which she was found.
Shiver says the sheriff's office reached a dead end in their investigation and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
KGUN9 reached out to a number of local law enforcement agencies, and none of them have a case that matches this one.
Schweitzer says the pollen analysis was done by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in a lab in Illinois. The results also found the girl may have been in the southern tip of California, Nevada, and possibly down into Mexico, Schweitzer said, but most likely Arizona.
Pollens are unique and under a microscope experts can identify them to see what plant they came from, said Charles Kazilek a senior research professor at the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences.
There are some plants that are specific to certain areas in the country, so with some testing it's possible to trace a person's belongings to a specific area, Kazilek said.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is hoping someone in the medical field may recognize the child.