Day 1: The Boy in the Box
Updated: Apr 18, 2020
If you are confused by the Day 1 in the title let me give you a quick run down of what we are doing this month. I announced it on all the podcasts for the last two weeks but I don’t believe I let any of our blog members in on this. October is #31daysofcrime for The Great Unsolved. This means that we will be doing a new unsolved case everyday on our podcast (minisodes (10mins)) and on here, our blog. This is a way for us to bring attention to so many more cases that we otherwise would not have time to cover. We hope you interact and enjoy!
If you would rather listen to this on our podcast click, here.
I’m assuming you read the title before clicking on this post. That means that if you are true crime obsessed like myself you know something about this case already. Most likely you have devoted hours upon hours to research it and still came up empty in the end, I know I have.
I thought it might be good to kick off #31daysofcrime on a strong note with a well known, yet still unsolved case. The Boy in the Box is that case. If you don’t know about this case I suggest you keep reading because it is fascinating, yet horrifying and desperatly needs to be solved.
The Boy in the Box, aka America’s Unknown Child, was the name given to the body of a 4 or 5 year old (some sources say 3-7 years) boy found in a box on the side of the road in Fox Chase, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pictures of the boy were spread all over and even gained national attention, but no one could identify him. The police even dressed up the body and put him in a sitting position to mimic how he may have been in life. Their hope was someone would recognize him from this morbid picture below.
Still there was no luck with identification. Due to the body being found February 25, 1957 there were no advanced DNA identification methods. Over 62 years later we still are no closer to finding the identity of this boy. However, many are hopeful that the new genetic genealogy tests that are solving cold cases all over the world will help this case out. If that turns out to solve this case that is wonderful!! That means this post will be irrelevant in the next year or so. But until then, lets look more into the case.
When this boys body was found he was naked but wrapped in a light plaid blanket. Further description on the appearance of this blanket is something I could not find. The boys body look severely malnourished and he had been beaten multiple times before his death. There was hair sticking to his body which looked as if it had been cut off after death. Cause of death was found to be blunt force trauma to his head.
This paints a very sad picture for the boys life as well as his death. Adding to the sadness of this case was the fact there was really no evidence. When police swept the area all they found was a blue men’s cap, a child’s scarf, and a handkerchief with the letter G in the corner. Adding those to the blanket that the boy was wrapped in and the bassinet box he was found in gave 5 clues that ultimately led no where for investigators.
Originally the police followed leads on the bassinet box the boy was found in. It was a certain one from J.C.Penny so they thought maybe sales records would help. Although this lead was followed there was no closure from it because there was no factual evidence that linked the box to someone.
That being all of the evidence from the case brings us into the theories portion of this post. There are three theories, one of which could fit into both of the other theories.
There was a foster home located about 1.5 miles away from where the boy’s was found. This raised questions about if this boy had been part of the foster home and someone killed him. A psychic that was employed by an employee at the medical examiners office led people straight to the foster home when asked about The Boy in the Box. This same employee also attended an estate sale at the foster home. When he went for this sale he spotted blankets that looked similar to that of the one the boy was wrapped in.
In my opinion this theory doesn’t hold up with its ‘evidence.’ Many people have the same blankets and I am really unsure about the psychic part. The idea of him being abused and killed in a foster home could be plausible though. That would explain why no one could identify him, he could’ve simply been an abandoned child.
This theory was an astounding one to say the least. A woman that went by the name of ‘M’ came in and told police a very interesting story. M stated that when she was young her mother purchased a boy from his birth parents sometime in 1954. She continued to say that her mother kept this boy locked up and abused him quite a lot, as she was always an abusive mother. However, one night at dinner the boy threw up his food (beans) and the mother lost it and smashed his head into the floor which he later died from, and then put him in a bath. M said that her mother then cut the boys hair and made her help dispose of the body.
This was so astounding to me because it corroborates with so much in the case. The police were the only people who knew the contents of his stomach, which were beans, and the only people who knew about his water wrinkled fingers, from a bath most likely. She had two unknown pieces of information correct in her story and that made this even more plausible to me. But lastly when her and her mother were supposedly disposing of the body a man drove by asking if they needed help. That corresponds with a report from a man in 1957 who stated he saw two women and a car by the site where the body was found.
This, for me, is more part of a theory than an entire theory itself. This theory is that the boy was raised as a girl. From the hair clippings found in the box the police could see that he had quite long hair before. In addition to this it seemed that his eyebrows had been styled. This could explain why no one recognized him either.
Here is the final sketch of the boy that police are hoping leads to tips and someone knowing his identity.
If you know anything please call the Philadelphia Police Department at 311.
Stay tuned for our next 30 days of crime in #31daysofcrime!! You can follow us on twitter and listen to our podcast as well at the links at the top of the post!!
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