No One Confronted Them Beforehand?!
“Sharon Lee Gallegos was born on September 6, 1955 in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and shared a home with her mother, siblings, grandmother, and six other relatives- which included 4 other children, who were cousins to Sharon. Her father, who was a soldier, had left the family when Sharon was a baby, and she had no contact with him while growing up. Sharon’s mother worked hard to provide for her family, having been employed as a housekeeper for a local motel and often worked long shifts to make ends meet. The family was extremely close-knit, and it was said that Sharon loved growing up with the other children in the home, and enjoyed playing with her siblings and young cousins.
Four-year-old Sharon was described by her nephew, Rey Chavez, as a jovial, ‘happy-go-lucky’ child, with a feisty side to her. She loved to be helpful to her mother, often running little errands for her such as going to the grocery store to pick up items that were needed in the home. Her family affectionately nicknamed Sharon ‘La Güera‘ due to her fair complexion and lighter hair, in contrast to her siblings and cousins. Rey stated that his mother, Vicky, who was 15 at the time of Sharon’s disappearance, was ‘like a little mother to Sharon,’ as the two were very close, and Sharon’s mother often worked long hours to provide for the family.
Weeks leading up to Sharon’s kidnapping, her family noted that she began to withdraw from things she normally loved to do, like those little trips to the grocery store for her mother. Investigators now know that this is because Sharon had been stalked in this time period, with a few strange occurrences having happened. On July 17th, 1960, Sharon attended a church service with her mother, Guadalupe. Sitting in the parking lot of the church, after the service, sat a green-colored Sedan with four passengers inside: a man, a woman, and two younger children. The children were only described as one freckled-faced boy and one small girl. After people gathered outside the church, the woman from the green sedan was observed asking some people in the congregation probing questions about Sharon and her mother.
As with the grocery store trips, Sharon’s personality began to shift in other ways, during those last few weeks. Her family stated that she would become visibly upset whenever she would spot that same green sedan near her home, or parked in the places she was visiting. This car, and its occupants, scared her so much that she would often ask family members to pick her up and carry her, any time she needed to pass by this vehicle.
Two days after the church incident, on July 19th, this same woman would knock on neighbors’ doors surrounding the family’s home. When she spoke with the neighbors, she had quite a few questions. She inquired about Guadalupe’s actual address, how many children she had, specifically if she had a little girl, and Guadalupe’s financial situation. This woman had asked these questions under the guise of intending to offer Guadalupe a well-paying job.
On July 21st, around 3 pm, Sharon was playing with her cousins in an alley located behind her home, on Virginia Avenue. The same green sedan, which was believed to be either a dark green 1951 or 1952 Dodge or Plymouth, pulled up into the alleyway. In an attempt to persuade Sharon to enter their car, they offered to buy her new clothing and some candy, but Sharon refused. Once the abductors knew that Sharon wouldn’t go with them willingly, the woman exited the car, grabbed her by the arm, and dragged her into the vehicle, shutting the door behind her. The sedan quickly drove off and was last seen turning left and speeding onto 5th street.
The female abductor was described as a heavyset woman in her thirties, with blonde hair. The male abductor was described as thin, with a fair complexion, a long nose, and straight sandy brown hair.
The other children who bore witness to the abduction ran back to their home to inform the adults about what had just taken place. The family immediately called the cops, who wasted no time. Authorities set up roadblocks at the Texas-New Mexico border, where they searched any vehicle matching the description of the sedan the abductors were seen driving. Sadly, the suspects wouldn’t be heading east into Texas, but rather west into Arizona, a fact no one would know for over 60 years.
The investigators attempted to piece the situation together, trying to establish a motive for the kidnapping. A ransom demand was quickly ruled out, due to the family’s financial status and how the woman abductor already inquired into that. The fact that Sharon had been stalked for weeks prior to the kidnapping led authorities to theorize that she most likely had been targeted, and the abductors were biding their time.
Witnesses, family, and neighbors were all promptly questioned, as well. One of Sharon’s 11-year-old cousins, who was a witness to the crime, was adamant that she had seen that same vehicle parked near the Gallegos home shortly before the abduction. She also recounts how she and Sharon had walked directly in front of it on their walk to the grocery store that afternoon. The 11-year-old said that the woman inside the sedan was staring intently at the girl’s shared home, and that this had upset Sharon so much, that she again asked to be carried by her older cousin.
A neighbor of the family also recalled having seen the vehicle parked outside the home the Sunday prior to the kidnapping. Despite these recollections and descriptions of the suspects, on July 28th, officers announced that they had more or less chalked the abduction up to ‘a relative or possible acquaintance,’ which was completely against the evidence that was before them.
On July 31st, 1960, a Las Vegas school teacher named Russell Allen was out in the desert searching for rocks that he hoped to use to decorate his garden. He was searching near Sand Wash Creek on Old Alamo Road in Congress, Arizona, when he stumbled upon the partially buried remains of a young female child. The body had been dressed in red shorts, a button-up blue blouse, and a pair of adult-sized flip-flops that had been cut to fit the feet of the child, with leather straps to secure them. The child’s fingernails and toenails had also been painted a bright red color.
Investigators had noticed that there had been two attempts to dig a grave to bury the girl. They also determined through tire impressions that the car had driven off Highway 93, to the burial site, before turning around again and driving away from it. Two sets of footprints were found in the desert sand, one of an adult, and the other of the child, who they believed had walked to the site of her murder. A knife was also found nearby, and the knife, clothing, and footprint impressions would all be sent to the FBI for further testing.
The autopsy determined that the young girl, who was described as being between 5-7 years old and weighing between 50-60 pounds, had been dead for about 1 to 2 weeks prior to her discovery. They noted that her hair had been tinted an auburn shade, perhaps as a way to hide her identity. They were unable to conclude a manner of death but stated that the child had not suffered any puncture wounds, nor broken or fractured any bones. Despite not coming to a conclusion on the manner of death, they did classify it as a homicide, as the remains had been set on fire and charred. A composite sketch was unable to be drawn up at the time, due to the state of decomposition of the body. Soon, the monicker Jane Doe would be changed to ‘Little Miss Nobody,’ a sad nickname to use as a placeholder until they could identify the body.
The FBI and Yavapai County officials got to work, sending out an APB about the body they had discovered. Through talking with people in the area where the body was discovered, they learned that witnesses had seen a family walking near the area around July 27, with a young girl seen to be wearing the clothing that matched the description of the body.
Initially, the investigators had considered Sharon to be Little Miss Nobody, due to her age as well as the date/proximity of the crime. However, they would eventually rule her out when they revised the age of Little Miss Nobody to around 7 years old, determining that Sharon was too young to match the body.
Since technology has rapidly advanced since the time of the discovery of the remains, the decision to exhume the body of Little Miss Nobody was made in 2018. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children paid for this to be done, as well as for further testing. The labs had determined through DNA samples that the highest possible age for the child was between 3-6 years old, once again ruling in Sharon Gallegos. A composite sketch of the child was created by the University of Texas, as well, before her body was reburied in its plot located in Prescott, Arizona.
In January of 2022, samples of the DNA were sent to Othram Inc, in order to see if they could determine a family tree, or living relatives, of Little Miss Nobody.
On March 15th of this year, Yavapai County officers held a press conference to release the official name of Little Miss Nobody, who was positively identified as being Sharon Lee Gallegos.
Officials wanted to make it clear of their hopes that no one would again refer to Sharon as her monicker, saying, ‘The unidentified little girl who won the hearts of Yavapai County in 1960, and who occupied the minds and time of our sheriff’s office and partners for 62 years will now, rightfully, be given her name back.’
Officers are now working on the next part of their investigation, identifying the man and woman who abducted and murdered Sharon that summer day. They are currently trying to piece together the exact chain of events that occurred over the 10 days between the abduction and discovery of the remains. If the suspects are still alive today, they would most likely be in their 90s.
Since the discovery of the body, Sharon has been buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Prescott, Arizona but there were talks of moving her back to her hometown of Alamogordo, New Mexico.
When she was first buried, she was given a headstone that said, ‘Little Miss Nobody, ‘Blessed are the pure of heart’ Matthew 5:2, 1960.’ I have hope that they will one day replace that headstone to reflect her real name, much like they did in the case of Valentine Sally, who was recently identified as Carolyn Eaton.”