Texas investigators, working with missing children's groups, hope to learn the identity of a dead female toddler nicknamed “Baby Grace” found in a box that washed ashore last week along the Gulf Coast.
“We’ve worked a lot of heart-wrenching cases but this one has gotten to all of us,” said Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo of the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office. “I can honestly say I have never been involved in one like this.”
Investigators are chasing down a couple of dozen cases of missing children that match the description of Baby Grace, working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The cases are scattered all over the country, Tuttoilmondo said.
The child's body was found Oct. 29 along the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway, a major commercial port.
Officials have received more than 400 tips, including information from neighbors about a girl matching Baby Grace's description that they haven't seen recently, said Gladys Jones, who takes calls at Galveston CrimeStoppers.
Police ruled out the possibility that the child is missing British toddler Madeleine McCann, who disappeared in Portugal six months ago. Authorities worked with Interpol, the FBI and Portuguese authorities to eliminate that possibility.
Baby Grace was found by a fisherman inside a blue plastic utility box. She is between 2- and 3-years-old, according to forensic dental examination. She is white, 32 to 35 inches tall and 25 to 30 pounds. She has waist-long, wavy blond or light brown hair. She was wearing a Target-brand pink, flowing skirt; a pink or red shirt; and white light-up tennis shoes with purple flowers.
The cause of her death won't be released until she is identified, said Dr. Stephen Pustilnik, the Galveston County medical examiner. She suffered a skull fracture and was dead for at least two weeks.
Bob Smither, who founded the Laura Recovery Center after his daughter was abducted and killed in 1997, put up a Web site for Baby Grace.
“What we hope and pray for is that somebody will see it and come forward,” Smither said.
It’s unusual that no one from the girl’s family has contacted police yet, he said.
“This is a precious little girl and we’re trying as hard as we can to find who’s looking for her,” Smither said.
Galveston County CrimeStoppers has set up a memorial fund to pay for her funeral and an account to offer rewards for anyone who helps investigators lead them to the killer. Donations can be made to Galveston County CrimeStoppers.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Galveston County Sheriff's Office at 409-766-2222, the agency's tip line at 866-248-8477 or any Crime Stoppers organization.
FOXNews.com's Melissa Underwood contributed to this report.