Mom and Ex-Boyfriend Charged for Abandoned Toddler’s Death 35 Years Later

Mom and Ex-Boyfriend Charged for Abandoned Toddler's Death 35 Years Later

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.

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