In 1960 a child’s remains were found in a remote area of Yavapai County, Arizona. There were no clues to identify her and solving murders with DNA testing wasn’t possible back then. People in the community came together to bury the child with a card that read “Little Miss Nobody. God’s little child. Date of birth unknown. Date of death unknown.”
Episode 14 of the What Remains podcast reexamines the case of “Little Miss Nobody,” and the unknown remains that would take 62 years to identify.
A FAMILY SEARCHES FOR ANSWERS
By 2022, Rey Chavez and his family, who lived in a nearby part of New Mexico, had spent decades trying to find out what happened to his beloved aunt, Sharon Gallegos, a little girl who was abducted while she was playing in her backyard never to be seen again. The tragedy haunted her loved ones. Rey remembers talking to his mother and grandmother about Sharon’s disappearance while he was growing up and believes it had a profound impact on their lives.
“Sharon thought of my mother as her second mother. So, it affected my mom because she was pretty protective of us. And when she started having kids, I'm the oldest, she was very protective of us. Wouldn't let us go anywhere by ourselves until we were much older” Rey said.
SOLVING A COLD CASE, 62 YEARS LATER
In 2014, Detective Michael Scott Perry with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office teamed up with longtime volunteer John Shannon to crack the case. It would take them another eight years to finally identify “Little Miss Nobody" as Sharon Lee Gallegos. A big part of this success was the ability to test degraded DNA, a process that has only recently been perfected.
Detective Perry, who goes by Scott to everyone who knows him, says solving the “Little Miss Nobody” case was “the highlight” of his career. He’s a father and he told me the thought of a little girl murdered and dumped in the desert like trash, well, it was almost too much for him to bear.
Volunteer John Shannon who is a also father and a grandfather, has volunteered with the sheriff’s office for eight years. He describes the satisfaction of solving this case as “amazing” and “astounding.”
THE CHAVEZ FAMILY FINDS ANSWERS
The news was bittersweet for Rey and his family, but it gave them the resolution they had been longing for.
“For us, it was a shock, it was a shock. It was like, oh my God! Because who would kill a five-year-old, and why? My sister started crying and I was holding back tears. My brother just was quiet. My uncle didn't say a word. He was just stunned because after 62 years, my goodness, them telling him his sister had actually been found and she's deceased,” Rey said.
In this episode, we join Rey on his family’s journey for answers and justice in one of the oldest mysteries in America.