BOSTON — In her computer-generated image, she is the picture of innocence: a 4-year-old girl with long brown hair, chubby cheeks and expressive brown eyes. The image has attracted a staggering 45 million views on Facebook as investigators try to identity the child whose remains were found on a Boston Harbor beach nearly two weeks ago.
The mystery of Baby Doe began on June 25, when a woman walking her dog reported finding a trash bag containing the girl’s body. The child was wearing white leggings with black polka dots. Inside the bag with her remains was a zebra-print blanket.
Police immediately appealed to the public for help in identifying the girl. Using photos of her remains, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children created a composite image of what the girl may have looked like when she was alive.
After that image and photos of the leggings and blanket were posted on the Massachusetts State Police Facebook page, investigators were astonished by the number of views and shares the posting received. As of late Tuesday, more than 45.4 million people had viewed the image.
But authorities still haven’t identified the girl.
Adding to the mystery is that investigators still haven’t been able to figure out how she died. There were no obvious signs of trauma to her body, and an autopsy performed by the state medical examiner’s office did not determine the manner or cause of her death.
Prosecutor Daniel Conley said Tuesday that authorities are awaiting the results of toxicology tests to determine if the girl was poisoned or ingested drugs.
Conley said the outpouring of support by people who have shared the girl’s image on social media is gratifying and gives him confidence that her identity eventually will be determined.
During a news conference Tuesday, Conley spoke directly to the girl’s parents or caretakers: “Please step forward, clear your conscience and help us identify this young child.”
Her death and the mystery surrounding her identity have touched a chord in many people. People from the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico have shared the posting, with many of them expressing sorrow or anger over the girl’s death.
“How can someone just throw a child away?” wrote one woman from Arizona.