DNA Technology and Helpful Tipster Crack Cold Case Murder of 5‑Year-Old Left in Trunk
In December 2022, a tip from a concerned citizen led Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents to identify the remains of a child found abandoned in 1988 through DNA sequencing.
After further investigation implicating the victim’s mother and her live-in boyfriend at the time of death, agents charged the two suspects with first-degree murder and other related charges.
GBI Special Agent Jason Seacrist announced that DNA technology and a tipster helped detectives identify the child as 5‑year-old Kenyatta “KeKe” Odom of Albany. In December 1988, her bound and wrapped body was discovered encased in concrete inside an old television cabinet dumped in the woods. An autopsy confirmed her death was homicide but the cause was unknown.
For over three decades, agents pursued leads trying to identify the girl known as “Baby Jane Doe” through media appeals and collaborating with social services. In 2019, genome sequencing linked her to an Albany family. A crucial tip in 2022 from someone questioning the mother’s story about the child living with her father led agents to fully investigate.
DNA matching to surviving relatives and physical similarities between reconstruction images and the victim’s photograph enabled identification of Kenyatta in mid-2023. Interviews and a grand jury indictment resulted in arresting her now 56-year-old mother Evelyn Odom and 61-year-old ex-boyfriend Ulyster Sanders, believed responsible for the toddler’s death.
Thanks to never giving up the cold case and new forensic tools, justice was achieved for the young life so callously discarded decades ago in rural Georgia.