The Doe Network: International Center for Unidentified & Missing Persons
Case File: 4UMPA

 The Doe Network

1 2 3 5 6 blanket father
Artistic rendering of the victim; The box & blanket the child was found in; Artistic rendering of what the child's father may have looked like. To view a touched-up post-mortem photos of the victim please click here

Unidentified Male

  • Date of Discovery: February 25, 1957
  • Location of Discovery: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Estimated Date of Death: Unknown
  • State of Remains: Recognizable face
  • Cause of Death: Homicide
  • Physical Description
    ** Listed information is approximate

  • Estimated Age: 3-6 years old
  • Race: White
  • Gender: Male
  • Height: 3'0" to 3'1"
  • Weight: 30 lbs.
  • Hair Color: Light brown to blond trimmed in an odd, bowl-shaped haircut.
  • Eye Color: Blue
  • Distinguishing Marks/Features: Pale complexion. Seven scars, three of which could have resulted from surgical procedures. Two of the possible surgical scars were on the chest and groin. They had healed quite well, leaving only a hairline trace. The third was on his left ankle, which looked like a cut-down incision, made to expose a vein so that a needle may be inserted to give an infusion or transfusion. There was a 1 1/2 - inch scar on the left side of the chest, and a round, irregular scar on the left elbow. On his chin was an L-shaped scar, a quarter-inch long in each direction. There was no vaccination scar. He had been circumcised. Several small moles on his body, including three on the left side of his face, a tiny one below his right ear, three small ones on his chest, and a large one two inches above his right wrist.
  • Dentals: Available. Full set of baby teeth. Slightly bucktoothed.
  • Fingerprints: Available.
  • DNA: Available.
  • Clothing & Personal Items
  • Clothing: A tan child's scarf and a boy's yellow flannel shirt were also recovered at the scene. Investigators determined that the size four shirt matched the child's size at the time of his homicide. A child's pair of black shoes were also located, however, they did not fit the unidentified boy. An Ivy League style cap made of blue corduroy with a leather strap and buckle across the back was also found. It was determined that the cap was made in a south Philadelphia shop. The store owner recalled that a man between the ages of 26 - 30 made the purchase. He did not speak with an accent. The purchaser was never identified.
  • Jewelry: Unknown
  • Additional Personal Items: Unknown
  • Case History

    A traveler discovered the child's unclothed body at a garbage-filled locale on Susquehanna Road in Philadelphia. He had been wrapped in a blanket and placed inside a cardboard box. His body had been beaten. His nails had recently been trimmed. The palm of his right hand and the soles of his feet were rough and wrinkled, indicating that the limbs had been submerged in water prior to or shortly after his death. Strands of his hair were present on his body, leading authorities to believe that his hair had been cut shortly before or following his homicide.

    The blanket he was wrapped in was a large piece of an inexpensive, well-worn flannel with a faded design of diamonds and blocks in green, rust-colored red, brown and white. An additional piece of the blanket was found inside the box, smeared with automotive grease. The third piece of the blanket remains missing.

    The box which contained the child's body was from JC Penney, located in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. It was marked with "Furniture, Fragile, Do Not Open With Knife" and had originally contained a white bassinet. Records were unable to pinpoint the purchaser of the item.

    The coroners' investigations were unable to pinpoint any previous broken bones or inflicted trauma.

    A long strand of brown hair - not the child's - was removed from the scene. In addition, a man's handkerchief with the initial "G" was located near the box. Short stands of hair were present on the material and were tested to determine if the hair came from the unidentified boy; the results of the tests are unknown.

    This case has been reopened and closed many times in over 40 years. The boy's remains were exhumed in the late 90s for DNA testing. He was re-interred into a tomb marked "America's Unknown Child" in Ivy Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

    The boy is referred to as "America's Unknown Child" or "The Boy In The Box."

    Investigating Agency(s)
    If you have any information about this case please contact;

  • Agency Name: Philadelphia Police Department
  • Agency Contact Person: Homicide Division
  • Agency Phone Number: 215-686-3334
  • Agency Name: Philadelphia County Medical Examiner's Office
  • Agency Contact Person: Seth Ditizio
  • Agency Phone Number: 215-685-7445

  • Agency Case Number: ME: 57-863
  • NCIC Case Number: N/A
  • NamUs Case Number: UP #13111
  • Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.

    Information Source(s)
  • NamUs
  • America's Unknown Child
  • America's Unknown Child
  • Wikipedia - Boy in the Box (Philadelphia)
  • Court TV
  • Philly.com News Archive (June 16, 2007)

  • Return to the Unidentified Victims' Index

    Questions or comments? Please contact appropriate member of the Area Team

    Added: 7/23/06; Last Updated: 2/17/15 - By: DD / Unidentified Persons Coordinator

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