1. NORTH CAROLINA: An AMBER Alert has been issued for Hania Aguilar, 13, after she was abducted in Lumberton on November 5.
    Hania was forced into a green 2002 Ford Expedition which was found abandoned on November 8.
    A detailed description of the abductor is not known at this time.
    Click HERE for more information
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Keeping Children and Adults Safe
    Click Here for more information!
    Dismiss Notice
  3. What do you do if you have a loved one missing?
    In this section, you will find tips on what to do and not do.
    Easily find organizations that you can contact for help.
    Click here for more information
    Dismiss Notice
  4. “We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”
    Our mission: Working together to help locate the missing, name the unidentified
    and discuss true crime cases within an intellectual, safe and respectful Internet community.
    *~*~*~*Don't forget, we are on Facebook! www.facebook.com/CrimeWatchersNet*~*~*~*~*
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Welcome to Crimewatchers.net! We are happy to have you with us.
Please let any staff member know if you need assistance. We're here to help! (If you aren't a member, please join us today. We'd love to meet you!)
Dismiss Notice
Crimewatchers.net opened on April 26, 2015 with the purpose of making a difference in getting the word out for the missing, unidentified, and justice for victims. Let us know if you have a case you'd like us to feature here, on Twitter &/or Facebook. Contact email: CrimewatchersCW@gmail.com

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. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    I do have World War II military information for M's uncle who she believed could be Jonathan's father. The military records indicate that the uncle's phenotype was brown eyes. He could still have been the carrier of a recessive blue eye gene.
    FlandersFields, Scorpio and spike like this.
  2. guess who

    guess who Bronze Member

    I have what a lot consider brown eyes(dark hazel to brown) and have a kid with blue eyes, so it happens. Her dad has basically the same color as mine.
    FlandersFields and spike like this.
  3. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    Yes, it happens a lot. I have green eyes, but I carry a blue eye gene because my father had blue eyes. Blue eyes are the most recessive, so a phenotype blue eyed person has to have a genotype of two blue genes. A blue eyed person can only pass a blue eye gene to an offspring. Blue eyes are the most recessive, and green eyes are the least common.

    In order for Jonathan to have had blue eyes, the uncle had to be carrying a blue eye gene even if the uncle's phenotype was brown eyes. Jonathan's mother also had to have had a genotype of at least one blue eye gene.
    FlandersFields, Scorpio and spike like this.
  4. Sleuth

    Sleuth New Member

    Uncle’s daughter was 15-16 in 54
  5. guess who

    guess who Bronze Member


    This can also explain the neck scars.
    FlandersFields and spike like this.
  6. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    It's just so sad that this little guy was probably a normal boy and only needed a common hernia repair. He probably went into surgery as a normal child and emerged horribly disabled. The Philadelphia Police checked hospitals in a wide area in hopes of locating records and an identification, but they found nothing. Where was this surgery performed and who did it?
    FlandersFields, Scorpio and spike like this.
  7. guess who

    guess who Bronze Member

    possibly that he was not "normal" when the surgery was performed, also. The other possibilities are skeery!
    spike likes this.
  8. guess who

    guess who Bronze Member

    and back then it was also probably easy to remove the history of any procedure performed.
    FlandersFields, Scorpio and spike like this.
  9. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    If that happened now, there would be a huge lawsuit.
    FlandersFields, Scorpio and spike like this.
  10. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    I wonder if the doctor who performed the operation wasn't licensed to practice medicine in the US. This was after WW II and I wonder if the mother and the doctor were part of an immigrant community in SE Pennsylvania.

    DR. SPELMAN Subject has several scars. Three appear surgical in nature. One surgical scar is on left ankle and appears to be the result of a "cut down incision" common with infusions. One in the groin area. One on chest. Interestingly, no visible vaccination scars indicating possible child of immigrants.

    Hoffmann, Jim. The Boy in the Box: America's Unknown Child (3rd Edition): My Obsession with America's Greatest Crime (p. 297). Susquehanna Road Publishing. Kindle Edition.
    spike, FlandersFields and Scorpio like this.
  11. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    In the article, “Dr. Spelman reported that a scar on the left ankle looks like a ‘cut-down’ incision. He said such an incision is made to expose a vein so that a needle may be inserted to give an infusion or transfusion.” The two other scars might have been caused surgically because they healed leaving only a hair-line on the chest and in the groin. Dr. Spelman said that all of the bruises that covered the body of the four to five-year-old [note the age is now four to five] victim appeared to have been inflicted at the same time.” (Philadelphia Bulletin 1957)

    Hoffmann, Jim. The Boy in the Box: America's Unknown Child (3rd Edition): My Obsession with America's Greatest Crime (pp. 32-33). Susquehanna Road Publishing. Kindle Edition.
    FlandersFields, spike and Scorpio like this.
  12. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    Photo added by sideshow

    Added by sideshow
    Added by sideshow
    The Boy In The Box
    BIRTH unknown
    DEATH Feb 1957
    Ivy Hill Cemetery
    Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
    MEMORIAL ID 39148015 · View Source

    The "Boy in the Box" some times "The Fox Chase Boy" and "America's Unknown Child" is the name given to an unidentified murder victim, approximately 4 to 6 years old, whose naked, battered body was found in a cardboard box in the Fox Chase section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 25, 1957. He is also commonly called "America's Unknown Child".

    The boy's body, wrapped in a plaid blanket, was found in a cardboard box that once contained a baby's bassinet from J.C. Penney. The body was first discovered by a young man checking his muskrat traps. Fearing the police would take his traps away, he did not report finding the body. 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 case engendered 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 publicity at the time of the body's discovery and sporadic re-interest throughout the years, the case remains unsolved to this day, and the boy's identity is still unknown.

    The story has been profiled on the television series America's Most Wanted, and the CBS series Cold Case. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and NBC's Law & Order: SVU have both used fictionalized accounts of the story as the basis for episodes.

    Like many unsolved murders, myriad tips and theories have been put forward regarding a solution to the case. Although most have been dismissed, two possible solutions to the case have been extensively investigated and engendered much focus by both the police and the media.

    The first involves a foster home that was located approximately 1.5 miles from the discovery site. In 1960, Remington Bristow, an employee of the medical examiner's office who doggedly pursued the case until his death in 1993, contacted a New Jersey psychic, who told him to look for a house which seemed to match the foster home. When the psychic was brought to the Philadelphia discovery site, she led Bristow straight to the foster home. Upon attending an estate sale at the foster home, Bristow discovered a bassinet similar to the one sold at J.C. Penney. Also, he discovered blankets hanging on the clothesline similar to the one in which the boy's body had been wrapped. Bristow believed that the child belonged to the stepdaughter of the man who ran the foster home; they disposed of the boy's body so that she wouldn't be exposed as an unwed mother, as there was still a significant social stigma associated with single motherhood in 1957. Bristow theorized that the boy's death was accidental. Despite this circumstantial evidence, the police were unable to find any concrete links between the Boy in the Box and the foster family. In 1998, Philadelphia police lieutenant Tom Augustine, who is in charge of the investigation, and several members of the Vidocq Society, a group of retired policemen and profilers investigating the crime, interviewed the foster father and the daughter, whom he had married. The interview seemed to confirm to them that the family was not involved in the case, and the foster home investigation is considered closed.

    The case remains officially unsolved, but investigators are attempting DNA analysis on the boy's remains to attempt to link him to entries in a national mitochondrial DNA. In the series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Season 7, Episode 7 titled "Name" (aired November, 2005), a striking similar case was investigated by the team. The similarities are: In a decades-old unsolved case, a boy was found in a box. A man and a boy were seen by a witness at the trunk of a car at the scene, around the time the boy had been deposed there (in the real case, a woman and a boy were seen at the trunk of a car). Most of the buyers of the content of the box in which the boy was found (a boiler in the series, a bassinet in reality) had been traced back successfully by the investigators. The boy was found in a blanket that was cut in half. A woman with a mental record told her psychologist decades later that it was her brother who had been killed. Unlike in the real case, in which the trace lead nowhere (see "M"'s Story above), in the series this hint finally solved the case, although the name of the boy remained unknown. The original investigators of the case bought the boy his own grave and in the series the exact same words were written on the gravestone as those written on the first and original gravestone of the real boy in the box, which are: "Heavenly Father, Bless this unknown boy".
    Another reference was made in the an episode of CBS crime series Cold Case named "The Boy In The Box." This episode has many very close similarities to the real-life case including many of the items and contents of this episode bearing striking resemblance to the posters made to help try to identify this boy, including propping the slain child up in clothes.

    ***I would like to thank RAP
    the wonderful sponsor of The boy in the box your a angel and all who knows you and loves you are lucky to have someone as great as you.***
    Scorpio, FlandersFields and spike like this.
  13. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Has this little boy ever been ruled out?

    Steven Damman
      • Missing Since
      • Oct 31, 1955
      • Missing From
      • East Meadow, NY
      • DOB
      • Dec 15, 1952
      • Age Now
      • 65
      • Sex
      • Male
      • Race
      • White
      • Hair Color
      • Blonde
      • Eye Color
      • Blue
      • Height
      • 3'2"
      • Weight
      • 32 lbs

  14. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    Steven Damman was ruled out.
  15. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Thank you! Two sweet little boys, lost so long ago... and no answers for either. Just so very sad.
    spike, FlandersFields and Akoya like this.
  16. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    The bottom line is that the only real evidence we have to support the notion that “M” might be related to the Boy in the Box through her paternal uncle, her father’s brother, are “M”’ s own words, and the circumstantial evidence compiled by Source R. BUT... I believe every noun, pronoun, verb, and adverb “M” has stated publicly . . . and any other grammatical elements you can think of. Her account is unequivocal in my humble opinion.

    Hoffmann, Jim. The Boy in the Box: America's Unknown Child (3rd Edition): My Obsession with America's Greatest Crime (pp. 194-195). Susquehanna Road Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    The boy weighed 30 lbs. and was 40 1/ 2 inches tall. Of Caucasian ethnicity, he had blue eyes, partially open, but the eyeballs had already started to sink back toward the skull by the time of the autopsy. His hair was a light brown.

    Hoffmann, Jim. The Boy in the Box: America's Unknown Child (3rd Edition): My Obsession with America's Greatest Crime (pp. 23-24). Susquehanna Road Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    Now she says her uncle may have been the biological father of the boy she knew as Jonathan. No, she acknowledges, she has no hard evidence.

    David Stout. The Boy in the Box: The Unsolved Case of America's Unknown Child (Kindle Locations 2206-2209). Kindle Edition.

    A recent multi-generation study has found that the brown eyed paternal uncle carried a recessive blue eye gene. His two brothers were blue eyed phenotypes. It has been determined that based on eye color, it would have been very possible for M's uncle to have been Jonathan's father. Jonathan's biological mother would have been a blue eyed phenotype or she would have carried a recessive blue eye gene.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
    FlandersFields, Scorpio and spike like this.
  17. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

  18. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    There is currently a very energetic debate taking place at another website. The discussion involves which company should evaluate Jonathan's DNA. Everyone seems to have opinions, but few of the posters seem to have many of the facts.

    In November of 1998, Jonathan's remains were exhumed at Potter's Field in NE Philadelphia. The Vidocq Society had obtained a court order to open the grave and extract DNA from the remains. The original coffin was made of wood and Potter's Field, on Dunk's Ferry Rd., is often a wet area. After forty-one years, there was significant damage and deterioration to the remains. There was no grave vault to prevent moisture from reaching the wooden coffin. Because of the condition of the remains, the Vidocq Society knew immediately that nuclear DNA from the remains would probably be impossible. mtDNA would be unlikely. Mitochondrial DNA is generally easier to extract from hair, bones, or teeth if the remains are badly degraded. The medical team was only able to obtain one tooth from the remains.

    After several failed attempts, the technicians were able to obtain mtDNA from the tooth. Nuclear DNA was not possible. This means that the boy could only be identified if a female ancestor could be found in an mtDNA database. It would be very unlikely that a match for the boy's available mtDNA could be found in a database for nuclear DNA like 23andMe, etc. I personally believe that eventually there will be an mtDNA match, but it won't be an easy process and it's doubtful that it will involve a comparison with DNA from a nuclear database.

    I do know that Jonathan's mtDNA is an active case with CellMark Forensics in Texas. The mtDNA from that single tooth is not a lost cause. However, it will require tedious work and time because the technicians don't have the child's nuclear DNA to work with. Through rapid developments and improvements with DNA testing, I do believe Jonathan's mtDNA will eventually be matched. It just isn't going to happen with a program like 23andMe. Eventually a female ancestor with matching mtDNA will be identified. It just isn't going to happen right now.

    This is Potter's Field where the remains were originally buried.


    This was the original wooden coffin.

    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  19. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

  20. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member



    Mitochondrial DNA is a special type of DNA and many people are not even aware this type of DNA actually exists. The human cell has two type of DNA: Nuclear DNA and Mitochondrial DNA. We even have 2 separate genomes – the nuclear DNA genome(which is linear in shape) and the Mitochondrial DNA genome (which is circular). Mitochondrial DNA is pretty basic in that it only contains 37 genes. Compared to nuclear DNA, which contains some 20,000 encoding genes, we can see that MtDNA has limited but important protein-coding functions. 13 of the 37 genes carried on MtDNA are involved in enzyme production.

    What is also peculiar to MtDNA is the fact that this DNA is maternally inherited – males and females inherit a copy of MtDNA from their mother. Nuclear DNA, on the other hand, is inherited equally from both parents; a child will inherit 50% of their nuclear DNA from the mother and the other 50% from their father.

    A MtDNA copy is passed down entirely unchanged, through the maternal line. Males cannot pass their MtDNA to their offspring although they inherit a copy of it from their mother.

    This mode of inheritance is called Matrilineal or Mitochondrial Inheritance. There are a mitochondrial DNA testing services available which can help determine maternal lineage or whether the people tested share the same maternal line. Lineage DNA testing using MtDNA is ideal for testing ancient biogenetic origins and tracing one’s unique lineage. For instance, scientists have used MtDNA to compare the DNA of living humans of diverse origins to build evolutionary trees. MtDNA analyses suggest humans originated in Africa, appeared in one founding population some 170,000 years ago, then migrated to other parts of the world.
    FlandersFields, spike and Scorpio like this.

Share This Page