OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) — The mother of Amore Wiggins speaks out for the first time since officers with the Opelika Police Department identified her daughter as “Baby Jane Doe” who went unidentified for years until last week.
Sherry Wiggins was 20 when she gave birth to a baby girl in Virginia.
“She was a blessing. She was smart and she was special and that’s why I named her Amore which in Spanish means love,” said Wiggins.
Wiggins met Amore’s father, Lamar Vickerstaff, when she was 19. Lamar was 35 and in the Navy. They lived in the same apartment complex. Later, they moved in together after Sherry discovered she was pregnant.
However, Sherry says Vickerstaff’s family was disappointed with him having a child out of wedlock. The pair had no intentions of getting married.
“He was upset and bothered and when he started shoving me, it was then I knew needed to figure something out,” said Wiggins.
Wiggins moved out and says Vickerstaff was an absent father. So, she went to court to try and get child support. Then, Sherry admits to making mistakes. She was facing misdemeanor charges, and felt Amore would be better off with Vickerstaff and his wife, Ruth.
“It did make sense for her to be somewhere more stable,” Wiggins said.
Wiggins was still visiting with her daughter until she says Lamar moved with the Navy to Hawaii.
“I reached out and he said why the hell are you calling me on the phone, I am not making no special arrangements for you to see your child. He said you don’t care about her and she is okay here with us,” she said.
Wiggins said she went to court several times trying to force Vickerstaff to resume visitations and regain custody of her daughter. But she said that by 2013, the court informed her her appeals were exhausted. She said the only thing she could do to connect with her daughter was continue paying the child support she had been responsible for since 2009.
“I felt like they made me feel so bad about myself. Kept trying and the doors kept being closed. I felt like the best I could do was live out my financial obligation, that which I never stopped. I felt like one day I could tell her I never gave up on you and I all I could do was take care of you financially, and that is what I did. If I couldn’t do anything I could take care of my daughter by supporting my child financially,” she said.
Wiggins said she never imagined her daughter was being harmed. She did feel Ruth and Lamar Vickerstaff had brainwashed Amore against her, but had hoped to reconnect with Amore when she turned 18. However, the dream of reconciliation was shattered in December when Opelika Police visited Wiggins in Maryland. DNA testing had indicated Vickerstaff was the father of a little girl Opelika police called Baby Jane Doe. A child whose remains were located January 28, 2012 who investigators say had been murdered and dumped behind a mobile home off Hurst Street.
“When they showed me the clay pictures of her, I felt that in my soul. I felt that in my soul. It was 7:36 in the morning and the DNA test had come back. He called and said ‘I don’t want to tell you this on the phone, but it is her. It is Amore. I hate to tell you this way.’ It’s been hard, its been so hard. I think of all the times I tried to see her and get her, all the times I called. I was a phone call away. They could have just called me,” she said.
Recently, both Vickerstaff and his wife have been charged in the baby’s death. Vickerstaff is charged with murder while Ruth Vickerstaff is charged with failure to report a missing child.
Wiggins said that while some in the community have been supportive of her, a lot of people have passed judgement without knowing the full story. She said it does hurt, but the only thing that matters now is getting justice for Amore.
She said she’s grateful to the Opelika Police Department for never giving up.