Thursday, 6 January 2011

The boy in the box

One of the saddest stories I've come across in a long time is that of the boy in the box

"His given name has eluded police for 43 years, along with the way he met his death.

In life, almost nothing is known about the small child found decades ago in a dumpsite. But in death, he would be embraced by homicide investigators who had seen it all -- except a boy in a box, surrounded by trash and rusty car parts. And generations of Philadelphians would be drawn to him long after he was in the ground. Some still pray for his soul.

The cardboard box -- the first of what would come to be his three graves -- held him only briefly, perhaps a few days or weeks. After months on a cold slab in the city morgue, he was buried in grave No. 191 in a potter's field alongside prisoners, unclaimed bodies and body parts.

He came to his final resting place in 1998, when his body was exhumed for DNA testing and then reburied in a private cemetery.

At first glance, the man who spotted the body thought it might be a discarded doll. But it was of a boy of about 4, left in a box marked "fragile" and "handle with care," dumped in a rubbish-strewn lot in a desolate wooded area on the city's northern fringes. The nude, badly bruised body, covered by a blanket, wasn't even big enough to fill the box."

His original gravestone simply read "Heavenly Father, Bless This Unknown Boy."

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