Mystery of baby found dead on river bank captivated coast for 38 years. Now we know her name.

Published 6:06 am Saturday, December 5, 2020

For nearly 38 years she’s been known as Baby Jane, but on Friday the identity of the child’s body that was found dead on the banks of a Mississippi River was revealed.

For years, the death of the little girl with blond hair captivated residents on the coast, who referred to her as Baby Jane and Delta Dawn.

On Dec. 5, 1982, a Jackson County deputy found the body on the bank of the Escatawpa River. Using DNA evidence, the officials have identified the girl as 18-month-old Alisha Ann Heinrich, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell announced during a press conference Friday.

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The child went missing from Joplin, Missouri in 1982 with her mother Gwendolyn Mae Clemons Heinrich. Twenty-three-year-old Gwendolyn Henrich left her family home on Thanksgiving 1982 along with her daughter and a boyfriend.

“The family had no idea. They were still under the assumption that Alisha was still alive and living somewhere,” said a Jackson County investigator told a Mobile television station.

Authorities are asking anyone who knows of any unidentified body that matches the mother’s description to report it to authorities.