"Boy in the Box": Thanks to DNA analysis: Mysterious infanticide after 65 years before enlightenment

A decades-old unsolved criminal case in the USA is about to be solved after 65 years.

"Boy in the Box": Thanks to DNA analysis: Mysterious infanticide after 65 years before enlightenment

A decades-old unsolved criminal case in the USA is about to be solved after 65 years. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania police have identified a child whose body was discovered in a cardboard box in a then rural area outside of the city in 1957, CBS reported, citing police sources.

With the help of DNA analyses, relatives of the previously nameless boy have now been located and a birth certificate has also been found. The victim's family are from the Philadelphia area.

It said it could still face murder charges in this cold case, even though so many years have passed. The unclothed body of the approximately 4 to 6-year-old boy was found wrapped in a blanket and showed signs of being beaten when it was discovered on February 25, 1957. "Cause of death was blunt force trauma," a now-retired investigator told CBS in 2021. In addition, the victim had been washed and had his hair cut.

The investigations, which dragged on for decades, brought no breakthrough. Leaflets with the blond boy's face were distributed all over the city to ask the population for help. The child and the case became known as "The Boy in the Box" and "America's Unknown Child" — as it is written on the boy's headstone in Philadelphia's Ivy Hill Cemetery. The remains were last exhumed there in 2019 to take DNA samples. "I'm glad to see the little boy's name on the headstone," a cemetery worker told CBS.

The police will probably comment on the case in the next few days with more details, it said. "We expect to provide an important update on this case in the near future," Police Inspector Eric Gripp told the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper. For the time being, however, he has not given details such as the boy's name.

Sources: CBS, CNN, Philadelphia Inquirer, DPA

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