Amore “Baby Jane Doe” Wiggins investigation continues in Opelika

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 12:56 PM EST
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OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - More details are emerging from Opelika police since the identity of Amore Wiggins and her parents were discovered just days ago.

News Leader 9′s Katrice Nolan spoke 1-on-1 with the Opelika police chief and others about what they and members of their force endured for more than a decade.

“It breaks your heart, I mean there’s no way being involved on a case like this that it just doesn’t tear you up from the inside,” said Chief Shane Healey.

“We would have done it for anybody, you know that’s part of why we do this job, you have to have that inner give a damn to do it,” said Captain Jonathan Clifton.

Both Captain Johnathan Clifton and Opelika Police Chief Shane Healey talk about the time they spent searching for who baby Jane Doe was - discovering more than a decade later, she was Amore Wiggins.

They say after finding her remains on a January day in 2012, they never gave up the search for her identity... And the emotions have run high since day one.

“She was you know dumped in a ditch somewhere, that’s what bothers me....Who does that,” said Captain Clifton.

The question for so long was: Who did these remains belong to? Who killed this young girl and left her body in a mobile home park?

They only knew they were working with a limited timeframes between when she was killed and her remains discovered.

“We know that and believe that she died sometime in the summer to the fall of 2011,” said Healey.

Meaning that Amore would have been about 5 years old at the time of her death. They tell us now that they have an arrest, they found out Amore was not the only child in the family.

“He does have a son that does live here in Opelika,” said Healey.

Not only that, suspect, Ruth Vickerstaff also had children older than Amore.

“Because we know that there was significant abuse happening to Amore over the course, potentially, the last year of her life, there was something going on in that family dynamic and she was not well received,” said Healey.

And the chief says there are other family members like Vickerstaff’s mother who is alive, but never came forward saying that there was missing child in the family.

“Through this whole process, they never came to us and said, ‘Hey we had a sister, granddaughter, niece, whatever that we don’t know what happened to, no one said anything.’”

Leading them to believe she may have been a family secret under lock and key, being abused over time. But they say now the layers have been uncovered, they were not alone in asking where was Amore.

“Amore’s mother, Sherry, did ask, where’s Amore. She exhausted everything she could potentially do to find Amore,” said Healey.

What disturbs them even more is a child suffering from 15 broken bones and no doctor visit on record.

“The last years of her life were traumatic to say the least.”

And now, the Vickerstaffs are officially in Alabama to face investigators. Lamar Vickerstaff is facing murder charges in her death and her stepmother, Ruth Vickerstaff, is facing charges of failure to report a missing child.

Now both the chief and the captain say they are going to sure they question Ruth and Lamar Vickerstaff to make sure they get all of the pieces of the puzzle that are missing in this case. But they say they need you to come forward with any information you may know about Amore and her death.

Police say Lamar Vickerstaff was stationed in several places all over the country as a Navy sailor. They are hoping this story gains worldwide attention so that someone can come forward with more on what they may know about the family and Amore.