Amore Wiggins was a 5 year old girl from Alabama who went missing in 2011. Her remains were found in 2011, but she was not identified until January 2023. Amore’s killer was revealed to be her own father.
Amore Joveah Wiggins was born on January 1, 2006 to her mother Sherry Wiggins and father Lamar Vickerstaff. At some point, Lamar was awarded full custody of Amore in 2009, and she went to live with him and his wife Ruth Vickerstaff. Lamar Vickerstaff served in the Navy, making him to appear as the better fit parent for Amore. During the time Amore was in Lamar’s custody, Sherry was given visits and paid child support, but she tried multiple times to take Lamar back to court to get Amore back.
On January 28, 2012, a resident at Brook Haven Trailer Park in Opelika, Alabama discovered a scull behind the trailer park. Police were called and searched more of the surrounding area, to which they discovered more remains, as well as a pink, long sleeve shirt with heart buttons and ruffles on it nearby a creek. They are unsure if the shirt belonged to the victim or not.
Autopsies determined that the remains were those of a young girl of African American descent between the ages of 4-7. Evidence determined that the child was malnourished and had a visible deformity on her left eye, which could have been natural or caused by an injury or abuse. Detectives looked into school or birth records to identify the victim, but nothing could be linked to her. Isotope tests were also done on the victim’s bones, which determined that she was from Southeastern United States.
Despite their tests, detectives were unable to identify the child, which led to her being known as Opelika Jane Doe or Baby Jane Doe. In September 2016, a former bible teacher at Greater Peace Church in Opelika provided law enforcement with photos of a young girl that attended the church that resembled the Opelika Jane Doe. The photos were taken in the summer of 2011, and the child was between 4-5 years old. The teacher stated that the child was very reserved and had trouble communicating with other children. The church was also 10 minutes away from where Opelika Jane Doe’s remains were found. Despite this strong lead, it did not lead to the identification of the Jane Doe.
As time passed, the Opelika Police Department teamed up with Othram laboratories to use advanced DNA testing and genetic genealogy to try and identify the child. In January 2022, Opelika Jane Doe’s remains were sent to Othram’s laboratory in Woodland, Texas to build a genetic profile of the victim. In January 2023, Othram labs confirmed that the remains of Opelika Jane Doe belonged to 5 year old Amore Joveah Wiggins. Her father Lamar Vickerstaff was identified in October 2022 before her remains were. At the time of the identification, Lamar was stationed at Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville. Detectives went to where Lamar was stationed to inform him of the discovery of the remains possibly connected to him. However, Lamar did not provide them with any information of his daughter’s identification and claimed that he did not know Sherry Wiggins when asked of her significance.
After Sherry was identified as the child’s mother, she too was informed of her possible connection to the remains. She was asked if she knew anyone named Lamar Vickerstaff, to which she replied yes. She was then informed of the Opelika Jane Doe whose case had been unsolved for nearly 10 years. Sherry lived hundreds of miles away from where Amore’s remains were found and had no knowledge of the Opelika Jane Doe case. After her issues with fighting to regain custody of Amore, Sherry decided to wait until Amore turned 18, that way she wouldn’t have to worry about taking Lamar to court. Unfortunately, Amore did not live to see 18 and her mother was unaware of her daughter’s death for over 10 years. Sherry states that she wishes Ruth or Lamar would have reached out and returned Amore to her if things were too difficult and they couldn’t take care of her.
After Amore’s remains were confirmed, her father Lamar Vickerstaff was arrested on January 17, 2023 and charged for felony murder; he and his wife Ruth were also charged with failing to report a missing child.
It is heartbreaking that Amore’s young life was taken, and by someone who was supposed to love and protect her. Amore deserved a chance at her life. Her mother Sherry has set up a GoFundMe to raise funds for Amore’s burial and law expenses. I hope that Amore’s identification can help bring her mother some closure and heal from such a tragedy.