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PA THE BOY IN THE BOX: WM, 4-6, found in Philadelphia, PA - Feb 1957 - America's Unknown Child

Discussion in 'Unidentified 1900 to 1979' started by SMC, May 17, 2015.

  1. SMC

    SMC Member

  2. SMC

    SMC Member

  3. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    The boy's body, wrapped in a plaid blanket, was found in the woods off Susquehanna Road in Fox Chase, Philadelphia. He was naked inside a cardboard box that once contained a baby's bassinet from J.C. Penney. The body was first found by a young man checking his muskrat traps. Fearing that the police would confiscate his traps, he did not report the matter. A few days later, a college student spotted a rabbit running into the underbrush. Knowing there were animal traps in the area, he stopped his car to investigate and discovered the body. He too was reluctant to have any contact with the police, but did report his find the following day.

    The deceased boy's fingerprints were taken, and police originally were optimistic that his identity would be discovered quickly. However, nobody ever came forward with any useful information.[2]

    The case attracted massive media attention in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, with pictures of the boy even being placed in every gas bill in Philadelphia. However, despite the huge publicity at the time and sporadic re-interest throughout the years, the case remains unsolved to this day, and the boy's identity is still unknown.

    Dobrev, Uno2Much, spike and 5 others like this.
  4. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Thank you for starting this thread, @SMC! I had him on my list of threads to start and hadn't gotten to him yet. I appreciate your help very much! :hug:
    FlandersFields, spike, Akoya and 4 others like this.
  5. Boots

    Boots Well-Known Member

    Nobody deserves to be found in a box. Surely there is someone who might recognize this picture out there. A sibling perhaps? Anyone?
    FlandersFields, spike, Akoya and 3 others like this.
  6. Dama

    Dama Lagunas mentales

    I agree with some posters & writers on this case. I believe this poor baby was in foster care. I'd start looking at census records in a 20 mile radius from where he was found. I would imagine that the original child welfare records no longer exist. Anyone know?
    Dobrev, FlandersFields, SMC and 3 others like this.
  7. DaisyChains

    DaisyChains Bronze Member

    URGENT ASSISTANCE NEEDED: If you are age 55 or beyond and you knew, or remember knowing of, a young boy two years old or younger (possibly named Jonathan) in the very early 1950s, living in or within a 40-mile radius of Philadelphia, or if you are or were a physician ( perhaps now retired ) who may have treated such a boy for a condition that would have left resultant scars in the groin area and the ankles ( IV cutdowns ), you are asked to Email such information to our website address (americasunknownchild@vidocq.org). You will be contacted via Email, and your information will be held in the strictest confidence.

    Who was the mysterious "Boy in the Box"? How did he die? Was his death a tragic accident, or a cruel and deliberate act of child homicide? Who killed him, and why? How did the nude, badly bruised body of this little boy come to be placed inside a cardboard box and dumped in a remote, rubbish-strewn lot on the northern outskirts of Philadelphia? Why didn't anyone report the boy missing? Who were the boy's parents or guardians, and why hadn't they come forward to identify him and claim his body? Will this little boy's true identity ever be known, or will he forever remain "America's Unknown Child"?


    Dobrev, Uno2Much, spike and 4 others like this.
  8. DaisyChains

    DaisyChains Bronze Member

    @Takeitfromme this case may interest you. Idkw. I just get that feeling. Sorry if you have already covered this case before.
    spike, Akoya, Lily and 3 others like this.
  9. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Tweeted - let's get the word out on social media!
    spike, Akoya, Lily and 2 others like this.
  10. DaisyChains

    DaisyChains Bronze Member

    Great idea! I really feel if this case was plastered all over Facebook and social media (the way other high profile cases have) it could be solved!!!! Someone has to know who America's Unknown Child is! Looking at his face causes my heart so much pain. He deserves his name back and his life story. His life surely meant something to He who created him. This little boy was knit in his mother's womb like all of us. God knows every hair on his head. He was/is loved and we love him, too.

    But who was he?
    FlandersFields, spike, Akoya and 4 others like this.
  11. DaisyChains

    DaisyChains Bronze Member

    KareBear, spike, Lily and 5 others like this.
  12. DaisyChains

    DaisyChains Bronze Member

    Here was a post that sparked my interest although the timing was off... Still the death of an 8 year old boy at this institution. Though I can't seem to get his link to work.

    "Ernest Michael Bonneau, Erniex57@aol.com, Fri Apr 5 15:10:37 2002

    St. Colman's Orphan Asylum, Watervliet, N.Y. America
    1947 - 1953

    I am looking for any persons that where in St. Colman's Orphan Asylum in Watervliet, N.Y. from 1947 to 1953. I am looking for any information concerning the death of a little 8-year boy. Also, I am looking for any photographs of the catholic nuns and the Orphanage itself. Concerning the little boys death go to this web-site..


    Sincerely, An orphanage survivor, Ernest Michael Bonneau"
  13. Takeitfromme

    Takeitfromme Professional Journalist/News Reporter

    This case does interest me. I have followed it off and on over the years. Poor little guy.
    I would not be surprised to learn he came from an abusive asylum or orphanage.... I remember my grandmother talking with her sisters about this case when I was really young like around age 10 or so. Very, very sad....
    KareBear, Akoya, spike and 2 others like this.
  14. DaisyChains

    DaisyChains Bronze Member

    It's just so odd how his eyebrows look almost tweezed. I think it was also mentioned that his nails had been clipped. He may of had a bone disorder that caused his bones to be more brittle - he had a nutritional deficiency issue which could be either pathological or may have been environmentally caused.

    Many of the orphanages that were associated with the Catholic Church and had nuns also had incinerators for cremation. Many of the survivors claim that when any children died of neglect or abuse or even natural causes they would be cremated.

    So it makes me wonder if This child had come from an orphanage why was he not cremated and instead was left out to be found later in the brush?

    That's why I lean more toward the boy having come from either an asylum like Pennhurst or an destitute/abusive household.

    If it was an orphanage he came from it likely would have been smaller without an incinerator. I can't imagine that one of the children from that small orphanage would not have spoke up by now. I know there was an orphanage nearby where his body was found, but I don't think any of the leads checked out.

    I bet even asylums had incinerators right? If so, then that would take the likelihood of this child coming from an orphanage or asylum even lower.

    The incinerator angle is important IMO.

    This child, IMO, is likely a family secret. from a family, or single mother, that has been keeping a secret for a very long time.
    KareBear, Akoya, spike and 2 others like this.
  15. Takeitfromme

    Takeitfromme Professional Journalist/News Reporter

    I'm more apt to think that it was his family that left him out there.... history just repeats itself over and over and we see way too many of these cases where it was the family that left the deceased child.
    Akoya, spike, Lily and 2 others like this.
  16. DaisyChains

    DaisyChains Bronze Member

    this case just reminds me of many other cases we have seen of a mother disposing of her child's remains.

    Typically if the mother/guardian disposes of the child, they are left many times:

    Concealed (in a bag/box/etc)
    With/in their blanket

    Often times they also leave the child within their own town or close to home. So I'm betting the child's family were from the area or relatively close.
    Akoya, spike, Lily and 1 other person like this.
  17. DaisyChains

    DaisyChains Bronze Member

    I agree with you I came to this conclusion as well. i remember one story of a little girl that nobody saw. They would sometimes hear her crying, but no one ever saw her. So no one was aware when she disappeared bc they never even knew she was there to begin with. Her mother killed her and buried her remains on the premises. Her body was found decades later and it took investigators a while to uncover that this destitute family had yet another child they had hidden bc she was mentally disabled.

    This little boy probably suffered a similar life. I think much of his lack of nutrition was because he was kept inside often and probably had rickets along with a slew of other issues.
    KareBear, Akoya, spike and 2 others like this.
  18. Advocate

    Advocate Ask me how to get your loved one in NamUs

    New recon at NCMEC
    Also a new lead in the article below but if you watch the video; LE says they can't use the DNA sample, they need to get their own. I am clueless why the authors didn't enter the boy in NamUs to get the sample that way. One is friends with Todd Matthews of NamUs, so he knows better. Philly LE say they have never cases they have to work 1st and don't know if they're going to chase this lead

    New Theory in Decades-Old 'Boy in the Box' Cold Case (hot linked) - The two authors – one from Los Angeles, and another from outside New York, say they believe they’ve traced the boy’s family to Memphis, Tennessee and need his DNA to prove it.
    KareBear, Rain, tobigofheart and 6 others like this.
  19. FlandersFields

    FlandersFields Well-Known Member

    This story crushed my heart. The only consolation I have is that the community took him in as their own by giving the boy a proper resting place, and the town has not forgotten him. Thanks Advocate for sharing the link. Looking at the picture of the supposed "dad" and the boy, I can see a lot of similarities. If the lead is correct, it would make sense that no one claimed him because of distance-Memphis, TN, and a dysfunctional family background. What lead to his demise is incomprehensible! I can't believe some people can get away with committing such heinous crimes.
    Akoya, spike and DaisyChains like this.
  20. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    New Sketch

    KareBear, Uno2Much, SMC and 3 others like this.

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