On January 23, 1994 an infant girl was found dead in a 55 gallon trash drum behind a car wash in Jeanerette.
Twenty-five years later, the identity and circumstances surrounding the death of “Baby Jane Doe” remains unknown and no arrests have been made.
Newspaper and television headlines talked about “Baby Jane Doe” for weeks as a small community was overcome with grief following the discovery.
Then Police Chief (Jeanerette) Kerry Davis handled the investigation from beginning to end, according to Major Wedell Raborn with the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office.
“He interviewed locals hoping that they knew of someone, in theory, who was trying to hide a pregnancy from her parents,” Raborn said. “He never could never make a connection or locate that one person, he put everything he could into this case.”
Police at the time received hundreds of calls in reference to the case, with one woman being arrested after initially telling police she knew Baby Jane Doe’s mother, then later admitting she made up the story.
Raborn said the infant died from hypothermia and was less than a day old when she was found by the owner of the car wash, bare skin with newspaper covering her body and with her thumb in her mouth.
A woman’s girdle and store receipt was located near the body, but police were still unable to make a connection using that evidence, Raborn said.
“A community of people then raised money and came together to put on a funeral,” he said. “There was at least 200 people in attendance.”
Marked by a small gravestone, “Baby Jane Doe” was buried in the Beau Pre Cemetery just outside Jeanerette.
“So many people would have taken that baby and raised her as their own, and given her a good life,” Raborn said. “Only God and her mother knew her name.”
In a recent appearance on the Nancy Grace podcast, “Crime Stories,” Raborn said that there is a possibility the case could be re-opened.
In doing so, he said, the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office is hoping to find that one piece of the puzzle that’s missing that could bring some closure.
“25 years later, yes the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office is willing to regenerate the case and put it back together.”
In order to re-open the case, a judge would have to approve an order to have the body exhumed, Raborn said.
“In rare cases does that happen, but it could.”
There is no statute of limitations on murder, manslaughter or negligent homicide charges.