For those of you who remember The Vexing Mystery of Jane Doe, the more than three-year hunt by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department for the identity of a murdered teenage girl discovered in a dumpster behind a Castro Valley Carrow’s restaurant, on Wednesday night the mystery reached its endgame with the revelation of the victim’s name: Yesenia Nungaray. The teenager from Yahualica in the Jalisco state of Mexico had come to the United States on her sixteenth birthday, and had briefly lived in Hayward with Miguel Angel Nunez-Castaneda, a former Carrow’s dishwasher who is now considered a “person of interest” in her death, and who had returned to Mexico shortly thereafter.
Sheriff’s deputies had doggedly pursued the case, confused as to why no one had come looking for a young girl who seemed so healthy and well-dressed, even after they had widely circulated forensic artists’ sketches of Jane Doe, images of a 3-D model created of her head, and even pictures of the outfit she was found in. (All of which, by the way, did not do justice to what a pretty girl she was, judging by the actual photos of her now being released by NBC 11, which also has video of an investigator recapping how the investigation was conducted.) Some deputies broke into sobs in front of news crews last night when they announced that they had finally located the girl’s mother thanks to a trip to Mexico to pass out fliers of the sketches. It’s not the Christmas miracle Yesenia’s family was no doubt hoping for, but it’s certainly a testament to the hard work of a group of investigators who would not give up.
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