The boy in the box murder

Published on 7 December 2019 at 20:50

The boy in the box

The boy in the box, also often called "America's unknown child", is a name given to a tragic and sad event about a four or five year old Unidentified Murder victim. Of course it is always tragic when someone is murdered, but when it concerns a child it is even more tragic. In this article I will talk about the mysterious case of the boy in the box.


General information

On the 25th of February 1957, a boy's body was found in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The boy was naked, wrapped in a plaid blanket. The body was in a cardboard box that had once contained a cradle. He should have been born between 1950 and 1953 and died in February 1957.


The hair was cut shortly before or after death. There were signs that the boy was severely malnourished and surgical scars could be seen on the ankle, groin and chin. He was about 1.07 meters long and weighed about 14 kilograms. He had light brown hair and blue eyes. At this moment he is 62 years and 8 months unidentified. The cause of death is homicide by blunt force trauma.

Forensic investigation                                                                                                                                                                                                               

First, the boy's fingerprints were taken. The police were convinced that they could quickly identify the boy. You would think so because this was one of the best-known cases in America, but unfortunately no one came forward to identify the boy. Because no parents came forward, there is a lot of speculation that the parents themselves killed the boy.


A total of 400,000 flyers were printed with information and photos of the boy. The crime scene was also thoroughly investigated by 270 police academy recruits. A blue cap of a man, a scarf of a child and a white handkerchief of a man with the letter "G" on it were found. These clues ultimately led nowhere, unfortunately.


Theories about what happened

1. A foster family.             

 A foster family lived about 2.5 km from the crime scene. In 1960, an employee of the medical researcher's office contacted a psychic. When the psychic was taken to the crime scene, she led the investigator directly to the home of the foster family.


Once they arrived at the house, they came across a cradle that had been bought at the same brand as the box where the boy's body was found. There were also blankets on the clothesline that corresponded to the kind of blanket the boy was wrapped in. The researcher suspected that the boy might be the son of the stepdaughter, who was living with her foster father at the time.


In 1998, the foster father and stepdaughter (to whom he was married) were interviewed, but after that, the investigation was closed. There were a few indirect evidences, but the police could not find clear links between the victim and the foster family.

2. Martha.   

In 2002, a woman named Martha came forward with a confession. According to Martha, her mother, who had been very abusive, had bought the boy from his biological parents in the summer of 1954. According to her, the boy's name was Jonathan and the boy was subjected to extreme physical and sexual abuse.


She tells that one evening the boy vomited up his dinner of baked beans and her mother became aggressive. The boy would have suffered a heavy blow from her and fell with his head against the floor and was therefore half unconscious. He had a bath, in which he died.


The story was very credible because some details only the police knew. The coroner had discovered that the boy's stomach contained the remains of fried beans and that his fingers were wrinkled by water. In spite of that there were also many doubts about the story because Martha had a history of mental illness.


The neighbors, who had access to Martha's and her mothers' house, also strongly denied that a young boy had lived there and called the story of Martha ridiculous. Because the story could not be verified, the police couldn't do much with Marta's story.

3. Was it even a boy?

A forensic artist developed a theory about the whole mysterious murder case. According to him, it could be that the boy was treated like a girl during the time that the boy was still alive. He thought so because of the cut hair and the stylized eyebrows. He even made and published a sketch of this.


In 2016, a forensic facial reconstruction of the victim was made and released, but this too has not yielded anything so far.


Picture by: CarlK90245. This picture is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.


Which theory do you think is the most credible or do you have a theory of what happened? However it happened, it remains a tragic event that not many people will forget. Personally, I think that the chances of this murder case ever being solved again are slim, but not impossible.. what do you think?


If you recognize this boy, please inform the appropriate authorities.



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