"Delta Dawn" is the nickname of an unidentified decedent found in Moss Point, Mississippi in late 1982. The child was a murder victim, as she had both been smothered and drowned shortly before her body was found in the Escatawpa River.
Born: 1980 - 1981 (approximate)
Status: Unidentified for 32 years, 9 months and 13 days
Died: December 3 or 4, 1982 Moss Point, Jackson County, Mississippi, United States
Cause of Death: Drowning
Body Discovered: December 5, 1982
Resting Place: Jackson County Memorial Park, Moss Point, Mississippi, United States
Height: 2 ft 5 in (0.74 m) - 2 ft 6 in (0.76 m)
Weight: 20 lb (9.1 kg) - 25 lb (11 kg)
A Little Bit About The 'Delta Dawn' Case
It is believed that the girl was seen with an adult female within two days before the body was located in Moss Point, Jackson County, Mississippi. The woman, who was carrying the child, was walking above a bridge near the area. The adult, possibly the girl's mother, was walking between midnight and one o'clock in the morning two days prior, that was acting distressed but would not accept help from passing vehicles. Within two days after the sightings, a man called police to report the discovery of a body in the river, clothed in a blue plaid shirt, which is now presumed to be the adult.Authorities responded and soon arrived at the scene, located along interstate 10, but instead came across the child's body. The sheriff that found the baby's body had initially mistaken the body to have belonged to his daughter, that apparently bore a strong resemblance to Delta Dawn, who was later found to be alive and well at his residence.The adult's corpse was never found and she has never been located alive.
An autopsy performed on the Jane Doe's body concluded that she had been alive when she entered the water, as evidence in her lungs indicated that she drowned, although someone had attempted to smother her before she entered the river. The official cause of her death was concluded to have been due to inhaling the water upon impacting its surface. Delta Dawn was a healthy toddler between the ages of one and two years old, most likely at the age of eighteen months. Twelve of her teeth had erupted at the time of her death, which influenced the age estimation. The girl had curly strawberry-blond hair and was of Caucasian heritage. Because of the amount of time she was in the water, her eyes had clouded to the point where estimating the exact color was very difficult, but it was believed that they were either blue or brown. Despite that her eyes had been damaged by exposure to the elements, her face was still stated to be in a "recognizable" condition. She was around two feet six inches and weighed around twenty-five pounds. The girl wore a pink and white checkered dress or shirt, decorated with three flowers on its front, along with a diaper.
Extensive searches have been conducted in hopes to find the body of the woman that had initially been found prior to Delta Dawn's, which has been fruitless. Several scenarios have been conceived, some believing that, if the woman seen with the baby was indeed her mother, had caused the victim's death and subsequently committed suicide. Another revolves around a woman that had stopped by the sheriffs office, describing that she had "given away" her child to a group of men. Officers speculated that the individual could have been the child's mother, yet it was eventually learned that the subject requesting assistance had a male child.
The victim was adopted posthumously by a police officer and his wife, who funded the victim's funeral and burial. The victim's nickname was coined by his wife. She is buried in the Jackson County Cemetery. In 2007, a graveside memorial service was conducted in memory of the victim.
Since her discovery, the girl was reconstructed forensically in efforts to identify her through recognition. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has released two illustrations and other artists have also produced their own renderings.
The Doe Network: Case File: 45UFMS
NCMEC - 'Jane Doe 1982' - Delta Dawn
NamUs - NamUs UP # 12191 - Delta Dawn Case