Saint Louis, MO

A Little Girl Was Found Bound In An Abandoned Building And No One Knows Who She Is

The Vivid Faces of the Vanished
Building St. Louis Jane Doe Found - 5635 Clemens AvenuePeas In Their Pods

Authorities are asking for help in solving a 39-year-old murder case.

It was a cold day in St. Louis on February 28, 1983. Two men looking for scrap metal went into the basement of an abandoned building at 5635 Clemens Avenue. As one man flicked a lighter, they saw something, reports KSDK. This vision would stay in their minds for the rest of their lives.

In that dark basement was the lifeless body of a black girl. She was headless.

She was lying face down, on her stomach with her hands tied behind her back with red and white nylon rope. There was mold growing around her neck. The girl was naked from the waist down. According to the FBI, the girl had been there four days. Her nails had two coats of red nail polish on them, and her hands were bound behind her back with red and white nylon rope. She had on a blood-soaked yellow V-neck sweater with no tag. According to Unidentified Awareness (UA), at first, investigators thought this child was an adult prostitute.

Detective Joe Burgoon and Detective Herb Riley thought she may have been a prostitute or a drug addict from the Cabanne Courts, a nearby housing project, reports UA.

When investigators turned her body over, they quickly realized the young girl had not even started puberty. She appeared to be between 8 and 11 years old, reports the Doe Network.
Depiction of St. Louis Jane Doe Yellow SweaterNCMU

Due to the lack of blood in the building and the area authorities located her, investigators determined she was killed somewhere else and brought there. She was sexually assaulted, strangled, and decapitated.

The Doe Network reports that her head had been removed with a large-bladed knife after her death. There were no dental records for investigators to compare because her head was missing. Her head has never been located.

No one came forward to claim her, and she was ruled out as a possible victim from several other states at the time.

According to authorities, they checked all the local schools and were able to account for the local children. No one identified or claimed the little girl.

"It's unimaginable to me that a kid can come up missing and no one knows a thing. You have a child -- 8, 9, 10 years old -- and there's no relatives, parents, neighbors, schoolmates or friends who report her missing," retired Lieutenant Colonel Leroy Adkins told the St. Louis Beacon.

Authorities named her The St. Louis Jane Doe.

The St. Louis Jane Doe was buried in December 1983 in Washington Park Cemetery in Berkeley, Missouri.

"We are gathered here to send the body of a girl we do not know," said the Rev. John W. Heyward Jr. of the Union Memorial United Methodist Church, reports the St. Louis Beacon "But we feel surely she is known to God."

Investigators reported they even brought in psychics to help solve her case.

In 1993, investigators mailed her blood-stained clothing and nylon rope to a psychic. According to the St Louis Beacon, authorities sent the psychic the sweater but it was never returned. The Beacon reports the psychic said it must have gotten lost in the mail. Authorities report that evidence, her clothing, and the rope, were lost in the mail.
Rope Used To Bound St. Louis Jane DoeThe Doe Network

Since the advancements in technology and DNA, in June of 2013, investigators exhumed her body to collect new forensic evidence. The cemetery was a mess, and many bodies were displaced with incomplete burial records. St. Lois Jane Doe's grave was unmarked. Several volunteers came in and successfully unearthed her remains. The remains of the St. Louis Jane Doe were sent to the Smithsonian Institute in Texas. According to the Doe Network, the full Anthropology exam and isotope analysis were completed by NCMEC and the Smithsonian.

The researchers there were able to determine she spent most of her life in one of the following states: Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Louisiana, and North or South Carolina.

The St. Louis Jane Doe was reburied in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.

There was one suspect who caught the attention of investigators, Vernon Brown. In 1973 He dropped out of high school and was convicted of molesting a 12-year-old girl. After serving four years in prison and being released, 9-year-old Kimberly Campbell vanished and was later found raped and strangled in a vacant home owned by his grandmother. He was never charged.

According to court records, he moved to St. Louis in 1985 with his wife and step-children. Vernon used the name, Thomas Turner. According to the Clark Prosecutor, on October 24, 1986, he was sitting on his front porch and saw 9-year-old Janet Perkins get off the school bus. He lured the innocent young girl into his home. Vernon told his step-children to go into their rooms, and he locked their doors from the outside. He took Janet to the basement, bound her, and strangled her with a rope. His step-children could hear her begging and screaming for her life as her voice echoed through the vents up to their rooms. Her lifeless body was discovered on October 27, 1986.

Vernon Brown was arrested after a neighbor reported they witnessed Janet going into his house. According to the Clark County Prosecutors Office, Vernon Brown confessed to the murder. H then admitted murdering 19-year-old Synetta Ford the year prior.

Although questioned multiple times about St. Louis Jane Doe, he never confessed to her murder.

"Personally, I believe he did it," St Louis Homicide Detective Carroll told the St. Louis Beacon. "It was his style, tying up little girls. How many child killers are there?"

51-year-old Vernon Brown was executed on Wednesday, May 18, 2005, at 2:35 a.m. by lethal injection. His last words were, “You’ll see me again. To all my friends, don’t think of me as being gone, but there with you. And to Jazz, who has my heart and love. Peace, love. Vernon Brown.”

The St. Louis Jane Doe has never been identified.

Information on the execution of Vernon Brown can be found on the Clark County Prosecutor's website:

Authorities ask if you have any information on the identity and/or the murder of The St. Louis Jane Doe, please contact the St. Louis Police Department at 314-615-8619.

Agency Case Number: 83-29584

NCIC Case Number: U470002710

Namus Case Number: 3199

NCMEC Case Number: 1104360

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