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Archive for Sunday, September 2, 2001

Police hope new ‘Precious Doe’ bust leads to name, killer of beheaded girl

September 2, 2001

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— Police hope an updated bust of "Precious Doe," the little girl who remains nameless months after her decapitated body was discovered, will help lead them to her identity and to her killer.

Police unveiled the new image on Friday. It shows a child with mahogany skin, short, matted cornrows and bright brown eyes.

Police found the girl's body April 28 in a wooded area in south Kansas City. Her head was found three days later.

Since then, investigators have received more than 600 tips, and the case has been featured twice on the Fox television show "America's Most Wanted" all without success.

In a move reserved for the most difficult cases, authorities turned to Frank Bender, a forensic artist from Philadelphia. In 85 percent of the cases Bender has worked on for police departments across the country, bodies have been successfully identified.

A previously released, computer-generated sketch of the girl made her look too old, Bender said. He believes he has created a more realistic portrait of what she looked like.

To make the bust, Bender studied the girl's remains. Then he covered her skull with soft clay, removed the skull and later filled the clay shell with fiberglass-reinforced plaster. It took him three months to sculpt and fine-tune the bust.

Next week, officials plan to change the picture emblazoned on billboards across the city.

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