WINTHROP (CBS) – The image of a young girl found dead on Deer Island in Winthrop has now been viewed on Facebook more than 45 million times. WBZ spoke exclusively with the woman who created the image for a closer look at the crucial clue.
“We try to bring these children back to life as it were through an image,” says Christi Andrews, a forensic artist at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Virginia.
She speaks for those who cannot speak, producing life-like pictures of those no longer with us. Her latest work: the haunting image of the little girl whose body was found on Deer Island nearly two weeks ago.
“We want to obviously create an image of what the child will look like in life, but also the vibrancy of that child, and we want obviously people to pay attention to these images,” Andrews says.
It is grim work. In cases like Deer Island, investigators will send Andrews post-mortem images. Somehow, she looks beyond the pain of what she sees and comes up with a vivid final product.
“No image is easy to look at,” she says. “When I first started it was very difficult getting used to. You know seeing images of deceased children but in the end we’re all here to do a job and that’s to get these children identified.”
The technique has been used before. Four years ago in Maine, post-mortem images were used to create a striking likeness of six-year-old Camden Hughes, whose body was found in some woods. The case was solved.
Now, the image of another child stares out at us. Who is she? Christi Andrews is dedicated to finding the answer.
“When you know that you in some way whether big or small helped get a child their name back, you can’t ask for a more rewarding job than that,” she says.
Andrews says she completed the picture in less than four hours.