Who was "Little Miss X"? Jane Doe unidentified for 62 years
Updated: Mar 2, 2022
If you watched the last video on this corresponding blog’s YouTube channel, you know it was on Steven Damman, who disappeared on Halloween 1955. I didn’t plan on doing another Halloween-related crime video so soon, but I found this case and felt compelled to talk about it. Let’s talk about the Jane Doe known as “Little Miss X.”
(By the way, before we get into this, there is another Jane Doe named “Miss X” who was found in the 1960’s. These are two different people, but it’s easy to get them mixed up — so just keep that in mind.)
On October 31, 1958, the body of a young girl was found on a small hill just off a dirt road. The hill was about 10 miles southeast of the Grand Canyon, near Williams, Arizona.
The body was completely skeletonized and lying face down. It belonged to a young girl, whose age has been estimated to be as high as 17 and as low as 11. She was thought to have died 9 to 18 months before the discovery of her body and, while no cause of death could be determined, her case has been investigated as a homicide.
There were no clothes on her body, but a few clothing items were found nearby: A white short sleeved cardigan, brown, green and red plaid capri pants, white underwear and a white cotton bra. The clothes were found “a short time” after the body, but I’m not sure exactly how long.
One source said these clothes were actually too big for the victim — who was thought to be about 5 feet and 105 pounds. The only item I could find a size for was the bra, which was a 34C — way too big for someone with such a small frame. These could be someone else’s clothes, put next to the victim for some unknown reason. I’ve also seen speculation that the bra did belong to the victim, and she was wearing the wrong bra size either because she didn’t want to bother with getting the right one or purposefully because she wanted to appear like she had a bigger chest.
A few other items were found near the body: A 10 carat gold chain, a jar of Ponds cold cream, a white comb, a white powder puff and a blue plastic nail file case with the letters ‘P’ and ‘R’ indented into it. More on this particular item later.
(Another source said the necklace was actually found on her body.)
I’m not sure when or how the victim got the nickname “Little Miss X.” But that’s what I’ll refer to her as from here on out just for simplicity.
Little Miss X was buried in Citizens Cemetery in Flagstaff, Arizona on September 23, 1959. In 1962, her body was exhumed to compare her dental records to those of Connie Smith and see if there was a match.
Connie Smith was just 10 years old when she disappeared on July 16, 1952. She lived in Wyoming but, at the time, was attending summer camp in Lakeville, Connecticut. On the morning of July 16, she left camp to walk into town, apparently homesick and wanting to leave after a fight with a group of other campers the night before. She was last seen hitchhiking at an intersection, and counselors noticed her absence later that afternoon. She hasn’t been seen since.
Connie Smith seems to be the most talked about theory/potential match to Little Miss X. But are they the same person? Let’s talk about that.
Connie’s dental records were compared with Little Miss X’s later in 1962. One source said the results were inconclusive, but most said they weren’t a match and, therefore, Connie Smith was ruled out. But that’s not where this ends.
I won’t get into too many details because, frankly, they went a bit over my head. Short version: There were several similarities between the girls’ dental charts. Remember, Connie disappeared in 1952 and Little Miss X was thought to have died around 1957. Had someone kidnapped Connie, kept her alive for a few years, then killed her and dumped her body in Arizona? Connie’s brother, Nels Smith, noticed several fillings on Little Miss X’s dental chart he thinks could have been done after Connie disappeared — if Connie was indeed Little Miss X. This would explain why their dental charts were similar but not an exact match. The Smith’s family dentist said three of the four fillings Little Miss X had looked like his work (or at least similar). There was also an indentation on Little Miss X’s palate that was similar to one Connie would have had after having a tooth removed. However, it couldn’t be determined if the indentation in Little Miss X’s skull was naturally occurring or a result of surgery.
Several other names have been put forward as potential matches to Little Miss X. But there are two main others I want to talk about.
The first is Mary Begay, who disappeared from the Grand Canyon on August 1, 1957 at the age of 20. Mary worked at the Bright Angel Lodge and had gone out that night after work to have drinks with some of her friends. She was last seen getting into a car with two unidentified men.
Mary, who is Native American, was reported missing to Navajo authorities by her family. But the Sheriff didn’t know about her disappearance until Little Miss X’s body was found the following year and speculation began that this was Mary’s body. Mary’s sister later provided a DNA sample, and investigators wanted to get DNA from Little Miss X’s hair to compare them. But they weren’t able to get a DNA profile from her hair follicles.
Mary Begay was 20 when she disappeared, so a little older than Little Miss X is thought to have been. She was eventually ruled out, but I’m not sure when or how.
So let’s talk about the nail file case found near Little Miss X’s body. It’s been speculated that the initials ‘P’ and ‘R’ are indicative that it belongs to Donnis Redman, who went by the nickname ‘Pinky.’
Donnis Redman was 14 when she was last seen in Las Vegas on March 1, 1958. She’d gone there with her boyfriend, 18-year-old Michael Griffin, to elope, but neither of them have been seen since. A few days later, Michael’s car was found in Williams, Arizona — the town Little Miss X was found close to.
Donnis Redman was later excluded as Little Miss X. I have seen people say that Little Miss X and Donnis may have crossed paths at some point. That might explain why a nail file case with Donnis’s initials was found near Little Miss X’s body. I’ve seen people say their cases may be connected, or even that Donnis and Michael killed Little Miss X and later abandoned their car to get rid of potential evidence. I obviously have no idea if any of this is true.
Before we move on, just one other piece of speculation I couldn’t fit anywhere else. Little Miss X had wavy brown or reddish brown hair that had been dyed lighter. I did see one person say that her hairstyle wasn’t a popular one at the time, so it might have been done purposefully — either by her or her killer — in an attempt to hide her identity.
After Connie Smith was ruled out, Little Miss X was reburied…probably back in Citizens Cemetery, but nobody knows for sure exactly where. In 2004, efforts in her case were renewed when Connie Smith’s family was able to provide DNA. Law enforcement hoped to see once and for all if Little Miss X really was Connie Smith — but they had to find the body first. I did find a report about one excavation in 2018, but the body wasn’t that of Little Miss X. As far as I know, Connie’s brother, Nels, still believes his sister could be Little Miss X. As of 2020, I can’t find any sort of update on the search for Little Miss X’s remains; they’re effectively lost. There was a 2014 report that said law enforcement thought there could be DNA on Little Miss X’s necklace, but I haven’t found any updates on that either.
According to Joe Sumner, who’s a volunteer investigator for the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office’s cold case unit, Little Miss X’s case is their oldest unsolved homicide. Sumner also said she was “well cared for” and that “somebody was missing her at the time.”
Little Miss X was found on October 31, 1958, just outside Williams, Arizona. She’s thought to be white, hispanic or possibly Native American, between 11 and 17 years old, about 5 feet tall and 105 pounds. She had way brown or reddish brown hair that had been dyed lighter. At the time of her discovery, she was thought to have been dead between 9 and 18 months.
Little Miss X was found nude, but the following clothing items were found near her body: A white short sleeved cardigan, brown, green and red plaid capri pants, white underwear and a white cotton bra. Also found near her body were: A 10 carat gold chain, a jar of Ponds cold cream, a white comb, a white powder puff and a blue plastic nail file case with the letters ‘P’ and ‘R’ indented into it.
So that’s all I have for you today on Little Miss X. Anecdotally speaking, most of the John and Jane Doe cases I research that are later solved turned out to be people who were never reported missing. With a victim who was probably a child, that makes me suspicious that she was hurt or killed by her parents, who may have covered up her disappearance by telling everyone she was simply with someone else, like in the Erica Green case. I hope investigators are able to find Little Miss X’s body so they can at least be one step closer to solving this case.
If you have any information about the identity of Little Miss X:
Coconino County Sherriff’s Department (1-928-226-5012) (case # 509-01397)
Coconino County Public Health Services District Medical Examiner’s Office: (1-928-679-877) (case # 12-064)
Coconino County Medical Examiner: (928) 679-8775
Coconino County Sheriff's Office Cold Case Squad: 928-226-5033 or 928-774-4523
Coconino County Sheriff’s Office cold case division: 774-4523
Click here for more information on the disappearance of Connie Smith.
Click here for more information on the disappearance of Donnis Redman.
Click here for more information on the disappearance of Mary Begay.