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‘Little Miss Nobody,’ Found In The Arizona Desert 62 Years Ago, ID'd As Girl Snatched From Grandmother's Front Yard
Police say an unknown woman stalked 4-year-old Sharon Lee Gallegos in the week leading up to her shocking abduction in 1960.
A young child who was found in the Arizona desert nearly 62 years ago has finally gotten her name back.
On July 31, 1960, the body of a young girl was found partially buried in a sand wash in the desert outside Congress, Arizona, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. For years, the Jane Doe – thought to be between the ages of 2 and 7 – garnered the unfortunate nickname “Little Miss Nobody.”
“I hope you never have to hear that name again,” said Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes at a news conference Tuesday.
The Jane Doe has now been identified as Sharon Lee Gallegos, a 4-year-old girl who was abducted from her grandmother’s front yard in Alamogordo, New Mexico, some eight hours away from where her body was found 10 days later.
According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS), Gallegos was taken by an unknown man and woman driving a “dirty, old green car.” They'd allegedly stalked Sharon for about a week preceding her abduction.
Sheriff Rhodes said two other children were with Gallegos at the time of her abduction – her 5-year-old cousin and an 11-year-old.
The children described the male driver as fair and thin, and the passenger as a short, heavyset woman in her 30s. The car, believed to be a 1951 or 1952 Dodge or Plymouth, approached the children just before 3 p.m. When the female asked Sharon to go with her, the girl refused, at which point the woman grabbed her arm and dragged her into the car.
One of the kids present said two other children were in the couple’s backseat, including a freckled-faced boy. Sheriff Rhodes said the family gave them information pertaining to the unknown woman, who allegedly asked about Sharon and her mother after church nearly a week before Sharon disappeared. The woman also reportedly asked neighbors about the mother throughout the week.
For years, there had been a theory that “Little Miss Nobody” and Sharon Lee Gallegos were the same person, but authorities could not substantiate it at the time.
“Though Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and the Alamogordo Police Department in 1960 initially suspected the remains found in the desert to possibly be that of Sharon Gallegos, technology and science was not sophisticated enough at the time to make the identification.”
Sharon’s maternal nephew, Ray Chavez, addressed the media at the press conference, describing relatives’ accounts of the “very feisty” and “happy-go-lucky” child.
“It’s something that our family grew up with. … We were known as the family who had the little girl taken [away], and we revisited it many times in our lives,” said Chavez. “Unfortunately, my mother and my grandmother aren’t here anymore.”
Investigators said they reopened the case in 2015 and exhumed the unidentified girl’s body from her resting place in Prescott, Arizona. With the help of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), scientists were able to approximate that the Jane Doe’s remains were closer to Gallegos’ age than previously believed. However, the DNA obtained in 2015 was not enough to establish whether the unidentified girl and Gallegos were the same person.
Around this time, investigators began collecting DNA samples from Sharon’s living relatives.
In 2021, the sheriff’s office joined forces with Othram Inc., which specializes in degraded or contaminated forensic evidence, using “advanced genome sequencing technology,” stated the sheriff’s office. In February, the DNA was finally matched to Gallegos’ relatives.
“‘Little Miss Nobody’ NO LONGER,” the sheriff’s office posted, along with a photoshopped picture of a gravestone featuring the name "Sharon Lee Gallegos" where the moniker once was.
Beneath the name is a Bible passage that reads, “Blessed are the pure in heart.”
Chavez said Sharon still has many cousins and a brother in Germany who have long waited for answers in their loved one’s sudden absence.
“Our family is so grateful to finally have answers,” said Chavez. “We want to thank the people of Prescott for taking care of my aunt for 62 years. Thank you for keeping her safe.”
Sheriff Rhodes said they’re still trying to learn what happened to Sharon in the 10 days between her disappearance and the discovery of her body. They also hope to identify the children in the backseat with Sharon’s abductors.
“I salute the detectives and the volunteers with the cold case unit who took this case to heart in 2015 and did not let go until the unfortunate moniker of Little Miss Nobody could be removed from the headstone that sits in a cemetery here in Prescott.”
Chavez said there were no immediate plans to move Sharon’s remains from Prescott since the community “rallied around her.” However, the ultimate decision is still pending further conversation with Sharon’s relatives.