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A previously unknown Black teenager whose body mysteriously turned up in a vacant home near Atlanta has been identified nearly two months after she was found, officials said.
The slain 16-year-old teenage girl, whose remains were found in February, was identified by relatives who contacted authorities after seeing media coverage of the unsolved case, police announced on April 1.
“A friend of the family reached out to the mother of the victim advising [that] the sketch shown on TV closely resembles her daughter,” Det. Lakeisha Watts of the East Point Police Department told Oxygen.com in a statement on Tuesday. “The mother reached out to [the] East Point Police Department to meet with the detectives in the Criminal Investigations Division. The mother and father confirmed the young lady found deceased was their 16 year old daughter.”
The girl’s identity hasn’t yet been released to the public at the request of the family, police said.
The development comes after authorities sifted through thousands of tips in order to identify the teen, who had been dubbed “Georgia Jane Doe” and “East Point Jane Doe.”
On Feb. 12, East Point Police officers, responding to reports of an unresponsive individual, found the teenage girl at a vacant property in the 2200 block of Ben Hill Road shortly after midnight.
Police, who released a facial reconstruction sketch of the girl, had few clues to work with, apart from a necklace and anklet she was wearing. For weeks, police repeatedly came up empty-handed regarding any concrete clues as to the girl’s identity, who officials initially estimated to be between 13 and 17 years old.
Police say the teenager was murdered, however, the 16-year-old’s cause of death hasn’t been released. Authorities are now focusing investigative efforts on identifying the young girl’s killer.
"East Point Police now know her true identity but the work is not over," Rebecca Steinback, a spokesperson for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children told Oxygen.com. "There are many questions that still need to be answered like, who is responsible and why did this happen? The pain that this child’s family is going through is nothing short of unimaginable. We are hopeful that justice will prevail and there will be answers in this case."
An unidentified female person of interest had previously been interviewed by detectives but released.
“At this time we do not believe she has any involvement or knew our victim,” East Point Police Department said in a separate statement on March 9. “We will continue the investigation.”
No further information was immediately released by law enforcement regarding the open case this week.
Anyone with additional information related to the open case is urged to contact East Point police at 404-761-2177 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Tips can also be sent to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children via a 24-hour anonymous tip line at 1-800-843-5678.
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