Boy in the Box‘ is one of the notorious homicide case dates back from 1957, where a young boy’s body was found along then rural Susquehanna Road in Fox Chase, Philadelphia.

The nude body of this 4-6 years old boy was found wrapped in a cheap flannel blanket in a cardboard box for a JCPenney Co. bassinet. His blond hair had been cut short in a crude fashion, with clumps of hair still on his body.

His whole body showed the signs of severe malnourishment, the ankle and groin showed some sort of surgical scars and a L-shaped scar under the chin. The back of his head was smashed in and he had been faced up in the box which was stamped “fragile”.

A major investigation was commenced in the case and help from the locals was also requested.

The police commissioner Thomas J. Gibbons suggested a citywide distribution of posters with the boy’s face. The gas bills inserted with the posters were hand delivered to almost every household in Philadelphia, in order to get help from people to solve this ‘Boy in the Box’ case.

The case got a major news coverage but nothing fruitful was obtained. The crime scene was re-examined over and over for decades.

Around 270 police academy recruits had investigated the scene, who discovered a man’s blue corduroy cap, a child’s scarf, and a man’s white handkerchief with the letter “G” in the corner, but all the clues led them nowhere.

The police also distributed a postmortem photograph of the boy with fully dressed and in a seated position in the hope it might lead to a clue. In fact in March 2016, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children released a forensic facial reconstruction of the victim and added him into their database. But all these efforts went into vain.

In 1998, the boy’s body was exhumed from his pauper’s grave for a DNA test, which also proved fruitless at the time, and was reburied at Ivy Hill Cemetery.

Finally after 65 years the identity of the victim has been revealed by the Philadelphia Police on November 30th, 2022 with the help of DNA and genealogical databases.

The police department said that despite numerous attempts were made to identify the child for years, the identity remained mysterious. However, with the help of the new DNA technology and genealogical databases this ‘Boy in the Box’ got his identity.

The police considers this case as the oldest homicide case of Philadelphia. They have asked the people with any information in this case to contact them. They have also announced a reward of $20,000 for information that leads to an arrest or conviction.

The police didn’t disclose the identity of boy as they have decided to do it on this Thursday in a conference which will be participated by the current Philadelphia police commissioner, commanding officer of the Homicide Unit, assistant director of the Office of Forensic Science and the Philadelphia Medical Examiner.

Categories: Case Studies


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