16 years after gruesome death, volunteers plan to celebrate what would have been 20th birthday of Precious Doe

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The gruesome death of a little girl 16 years ago garnered national attention.

Erica Green, 4, better known to many in the metro area as Precious Doe, would have turned 20 years old Monday.

Nevertheless, there's a continuing campaign to give meaning to her death.

Her decapitated body outraged veteran homicide detectives who thought they had seen it all.

But when no one came forward to identify the little girl, Kansas Citians took it upon themselves to claim her, naming her Precious Doe.

A group of volunteers is remembering Precious Doe Thursday by handing out crime prevention information to shoppers at east side grocery stores.

It took investigators more than four years to identify the girl as Erica Green and bring her mother, the girl's killer, to justice.

Many are convinced that only through grassroots efforts to keep the case in the public spotlight were we able to learn who Precious Doe was.

And these volunteers believe there are many other Precious Does out there who deserve a similar commitment.

"Back then this happened to this baby and a lot of things came about throughout the nation," said Teresa Perry, a member of the Precious Doe committee. "It showed how we cared. Kansas City came together in remembrance of this baby. We should be doing it now. We got babies being killed, women being killed, black men being killed. C'mon. Families killing. C'mon, it’s time to come back together and show the love."

As Mother's Day approaches this weekend, these women are encouraging folks to come together as families and seek help for social problems that too often result in senseless killings and heartbroken relatives.

On Monday, Erica Green's birthday, there will be a party in the park that honors her, at 59th Street and Kensington Avenue, with cake and ice cream for all. Members of the original Precious Doe committee again will provide safety tips to help prevent people from becoming victims of violence.