A murdered girl known for decades as “Little Miss Nobody” has finally been identified.
Her burned remains were found nearly 62 years ago in the Arizona desert and her killers have never been caught.
Authorities have now revealed she was four-year-old Sharon Lee Gallegos of New Mexico.
She was abducted from her grandmother’s yard on 21 July 1960, just over a week before the body was found partially buried in Congress, Arizona.
A gravestone, paid for at the time by local people – who held a funeral, reads: “Little Miss Nobody. Blessed are the Pure in Heart… St. Matthew 5:8.”
DNA testing earlier this year unlocked the case.
The girl’s parents have died, but her nephew Ray Chavez thanked authorities for not giving up.
“We were amazed how the people rallied around her,” Mr Chavez said. “Thank you for keeping my aunt safe and never forgetting her.”
He said his family had always described her as a happy-go-lucky girl.
Sharon Lee Gallegos was ruled out as the victim during the initial investigation due to uncertainty over the child’s age, the clothing she was wearing and a footprint at the scene.
The suspects in her abduction were believed to have been in a dark green 1951 or 1952 Plymouth, but they were never found.
Over the years, the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System and others all tried to identify her.
The case went cold until 2015 – when her remains were exhumed – and it is still open in the hope the killers can one day be identified.
Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes said he was glad they “did not let go until the unfortunate moniker of Little Miss Nobody could be removed from the headstone”.