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GBI Identifies 1988 Ware County Baby Jane Doe, arrests 2 in her death

 

Millwood, GA (November 13, 2023) – The GBI has identified the remains of a small girl found near Millwood in Ware County on December 21, 1988, as Kenyatta “KeKe” Odom, of Albany, Dougherty County, Georgia. Kenyatta was 5 years old when she was found.

The GBI has arrested and charged Evelyn Odom, A.K.A. Zmecca Luciana, age 56, of Albany, GA, and Ulyster Sanders, age 61, of Albany, GA, with felony murder, cruelty to children in the first degree, aggravated battery – family violence, concealing the death of another person, and conspiracy to conceal the death of another person.

On December 21, 1988, the GBI Regional Investigative Field Office in Douglas, Georgia, was requested by the Ware County Sheriff’s Office to assist with a death investigation involving a small girl found in the woods in a container encased in concrete. Due to evidence found near the child, it was believed that there could be a connection to the Albany area. A GBI medical examiner concluded that the manner of death was homicide, but a cause of death could not be determined. Investigators made a significant effort to identify the child, which included available forensic testing, collaboration with local social service organizations, local, state, and national media coverage, as well as comparisons to multiple missing children in Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and other states. None of these attempts led to her identification.

In 2019, agents began looking into genome sequencing to identify the child. With the help of the Ware County Sheriff’s Office, the GBI Crime Lab, as well as private labs, genealogy services were able to determine a certain family tree from the Albany area was likely related to the child. However, it wasn’t until police received a tip from a member of the public following a news story that aired on the anniversary of the child’s death in 2022 that agents got the break they needed. Based on that tip, it was determined in early 2023 that the child was Kenyatta and that she died in Albany in 1988. The agents continued to investigate and determined that Ulyster was Evelyn’s live-in boyfriend at the time of Kenyatta’s death.

GBI agents presented the facts to the Dougherty County Grand Jury on November 1, 2023. The Grand Jury returned a True Bill. Police arrested Evelyn and Ulyster without incident on November 9, 2023. Once the investigation is completed, the case file will be given to the Dougherty Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. The Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office will also assist in prosecuting the case through a special arrangement.

During this investigation, the GBI Regional Investigative Office in Douglas worked with many different partners to assist in identifying Kenyatta. Thanks goes to the following organizations: the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), University of North Texas, Gene by Gene, Othram, Inc., and Innovative Forensic Investigations. The GBI would also like to thank a local, anonymous donor who provided a $5,000 reward for information that would lead to the identification of the Ware Baby Jane Doe.

Watch the full news conference on YouTube here: https://youtube.com/live/XmlFWj7rUlc

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