Scientists have completed another round of specialized testing that may offer some information on the unidentified toddler found dead on Deer Island this summer, but the results are preliminary and require further study, authorities said last week.
Stable isotope ratio analysis compares residual oxygen isotopes in human hair and teeth with known levels in drinking water across various geographic locations. As part of their investigation into the unknown child’s identity, State Police Detectives assigned to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office submitted evidentiary samples to a Utah lab that specializes in this analysis.
Preliminary results suggest that the child may have spent time in any of several New England states, as well as other locations across the US. Scientists have not yet compared the biological evidence with drinking water samples in other countries. As a result, investigators are not drawing any specific conclusions on the analysis until it is complete.
Prior testing of pollen samples recovered from items on the trash bag in which the little girl was found suggested that she had spent a significant amount of time in the Greater Boston area prior to her death. In light of this evidence and the fact that her body did not show signs of advanced decomposition when it was found, investigators believe she died somewhere in the area rather than in a distant location. The specialized testing was facilitated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which also created the widely-distributed composite image depicting the girl as she may have appeared in life.
A woman walking her dog along the western shore of Deer Island found the little girl’s body in a trash bag at the waterline on the afternoon of June 25. She is believed to have been about 4 years old, had brown eyes and brown hair, weighed about 30 pounds, and stood about 3½ feet tall. She was wearing a distinctive pair of white leggings with black-and-white polka dots and was found with a zebra-print fleece blanket that investigators believe may have been special to her.
Since that time, State and Winthrop police have received about 150 unique leads as to her identity, conducting and coordinating well-being checks in 35 states and internationally. None has yet led to an identification, but investigators are confident that they will learn her true name – possibly from a person who knew her but has so far been reluctant to come forward.
Toward that end, authorities in July launched an anonymous text-a-tip line for those who would prefer not to give their name. Tipsters who wish to use it should text the word GIRL, followed by their tip, to 67283. The text-a-tip line was provided by State Police but is operated by a third party vendor and does not provide authorities with any identifying information about the tipster. Tipsters may also call the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit’s dedicated phone line at 617-396-5655.