For three years and eight months, Jane Doe had no name, no identity, and no personal history. Her story began May 1, 2003 behind a local diner, among tall weeds. Workers called authorities after finding a green duffel bag, which contained a body wrapped in plastic.
According to the condition of her body, she had been dead for several days. Jane Doe was slight at five feet and 1 inch and weighed around 110 pounds. She was somewhere between 12 and 18 years old. Jane had long brown hair and brown eyes, and authorities felt she was not a runaway or prostitute.
Where was Jane Doe’s family? Why had no one claimed the young woman found in the green duffel bag? Whose daughter was she? Surely, a mother or father somewhere wondered what happened to their daughter. She was someone’s daughter. The young woman had asphyxiated, suffocated from a rag stuffed into the back of her throat. Yet, no one had come forward to claim the young woman.
A young woman as beautiful as Jane Doe should be easy to identify among America’s missing teenage women right. Wrong! In America, there is hundreds of missing young women, and to find one unidentified Jane Doe among the 300 missing young women is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
When found in the duffel bag, Jane had been wearing a sock with snowflakes, pajama pants and a butterfly clip in her hair. Someone wrapped her in plastic, folded her over inside a green duffel bag, and then tossed her into the weeds behind a diner like a bag of trash. Detectives turned to the technique of DNA testing and forensic specialists in the community to see if they could find any clue to her identity.
The community of Alameda refused to bury Jane Doe in Potter’s field with out a marker to identify her location. Roughly, one hundred people in the community pulled together and paid for a funeral and her gravestone so Jane Doe would not be, forgotten. Even more of the citizens of Alameda attended the funeral of the young woman, letting this “unknown child of God” know she has a place to call home.
One day an article about teens missing near the Mexican border caught the attention of the Alameda County Detectives. Since the detectives strongly felt this area might be where Jane Doe had originally lived, they traveled to Texas to follow up on this lead.
After meeting with the families of several missing young woman, the detectives gathered DNA from family members, in hopes one of the women were Jane. Sadly, none of the DNA matched any of the missing young women from that area.
A new lead soon sent detectives even further south, this time to Mexico. With the Jane Doe posters now reprinted in Spanish, detectives soon learned that Maria Del Carmen recognized her daughter, Yesenia Becerra Nungaray in the picture. Now the detectives would learn how Jane Doe ended in their Alameda county jurisdiction.
Yesenia Becerra Nungaray decided to go to the United States on her sixteenth birthday in March of 2003. At first, she had called home almost daily to talk to her mother. Then six weeks after leaving home, the phone calls stopped. Her mother never heard from her daughter again. Her mother had no idea why, until detectives showed up in the small quiet Mexican town that was the home of Yesenia Becerra Nungaray.
This time the DNA tests were clear. Jane Doe is Yesenia Becerra Nungaray, age sixteen, from Mexico. Yesenia is no longer an “Unknown child of God” thanks to the modern miracle of dedicated, hardworking detectives and DNA testing.
Now the real police work begins, as the Alameda police detectives go after the killer of Yesenia Becerra Nungaray. How wonderful the day will be when the SOB who stole this young woman life is in jail rotting and detectives can say, “Case closed!”
Until then, I send angels to Yesenia Becerra Nungaray and her family. I send angels above them, angels below them, and angels all around them to bring them the strength and peace in the days ahead.
Soon, Yesenia will move home, closer to her family in Mexico, thanks to the generous people who have watched out for her for the last three years and eight months in Alameda. There are angels on Earth.