On Sunday, July 31, 1960, a Las Vegas schoolteacher and his family were looking for rocks in the desert of Congress, Arizona. What they actually found was much more horrifying; partially buried in a creek bed were human remains. It would take over six decades for the remains to be identified.
Further investigation showed the remains belonged to a young girl, thought at the time to be between 7 and 9 years old. (Later estimates would put her age as young as two.) Her race couldn’t be determined, but she was thought to likely be white, about 3 feet 5 inches tall and 50 to 60 pounds with brown or auburn hair. She was wearing a blue and white blouse with a chain design, white, pink or red shorts and a pair of men’s flip flops that had been cut to fit her feet. She’d been dead for a week or two by this point and her body was badly decomposed, but investigators were still able to see her fingernails and toenails were painted bright red.
A rusted pocket knife with blood on it was found close to the scene, but investigators weren’t sure if it was connected to the girl or her death. A few days later, the knife, the girl’s clothes and a footprint found at the scene were sent to an FBI lab for further testing.
The body of ‘Little Miss Nobody,’ as she was called, was held in Prescott, Arizona, where people came by to see if the child was their missing loved one. But her body was too decomposed for any of them to know for sure. She was buried later in August of that year, with her funeral being paid for by civilians. (‘Clue to Little Miss Nobody still sought,’ page 5) None of the leads investigators got in those early days ended up panning out.
The case was reopened in 2018 and ‘Little Miss Nobody’ was exhumed for DNA testing. A new facial reconstruction was also done to show what she may have looked like. However, investigators were only able to get a partial DNA profile during this time.
(Note: Some sources say her remains were exhumed in 2015.)
In December 2021, Othram got involved. This Texas based company uses DNA technology to help solve cold cases, and they’ve been involved in several cases I’ve covered in the past. Othram scientists were able to get a full DNA profile from Little Miss Nobody’s now-skeletal remains. From there, they found her brother, Roberto Juan Gallegos. In February 2022, the match was officially made. The following month, 62 years after her body had been found, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office announced that Little Miss Nobody had been identified as Sharon Lee Gallegos.
Sharon was born on September 6, 1955 to Lupe Gallegos. In addition to her older brother, Johnny, (whose DNA led to her identification), she also had an older sister named Ramona. Little information is readily available on Sharon’s biological father.
By 1960, 4-year-old Sharon lived with her mom, grandmother, siblings and a few other family members in Alamagordo, New Mexico. Lupe Gallegos worked as a hotel maid to support her children.
In mid-July of that year, witnesses reported encountering an unknown woman around town, asking about Lupe. The woman said she wanted Lupe to work for her, and asked if she had a little girl and just how many kids she did have. She also reportedly asked about the layout of the Gallegos family’s home. She was described as being in her thirties, large with dirty blonde hair.
It was around this time that Sharon’s behavior turned strange. In the days that followed, she stopped going to a nearby store, always insisting that someone else go with her. This was a store she went to frequently by herself with no problems, so it was likely odd that she suddenly didn’t want to do this anymore. Then, on July 21, everything changed for her family.
That afternoon, Sharon was playing with her cousins in her grandmother’s yard. (One source said they were in a nearby alley.) According to witnesses, a dark green sedan drove up to the kids, driven by a pale man with brown hair. There was a woman and possibly at least one child in the car as well. The woman offered Sharon clothes and candy — but when she refused, the woman pulled her into the car and the man drove off.
Sharon’s family didn’t have a phone at the time. Her aunt had to go “elsewhere” for help (though it’s not clear where she went). By the time she returned, the car was long gone. Early investigators in the case set up road blocks but never found the car carrying Sharon. 10 days and over 500 miles later, her body was found in Congress. What happened to her in those 10 days still isn’t clear.
Interestingly, Sharon’s name didn’t come out of nowhere. Investigators speculated that she was Little Miss Nobody as early as a few days after her body was found. (‘Officers still seek clues to identify body of girl,’ page 1) She was thought to be slightly outside of Little Miss Nobody’s estimated age range, but it was hard to tell for sure. A footprint test was even done, comparing Sharon’s print to the one found at the scene. But they were determined not to be a match and Sharon was ruled out. (‘Girl’s body, kidnap victim not linked.’ page 1)
But the idea that Sharon was Little Miss Nobody was never completely abandoned. In later years, DNA was taken from family members to see if she could finally be linked to Little Miss Nobody. Investigators still thought they might be the same girl, but couldn’t prove it until Othram stepped in.
Sharon’s mother, Lupe, died in 2011. Her biological father and sister Romano have also died, but her brother, Johnny, along with several nieces and nephews, are still alive. Investigators now want to work on identifying the people in the car who abducted Sharon, which will hopefully bring them one step closer to solving this case.
If you have any information about the murder of Sharon Lee Gallegos, you can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office at (928) 771-3260.