Five chilling theories that may solve 'Boy in the Box' mystery after child's body was found beaten & dumped on roadside | The Sun

THE CREEPY mystery of the "Boy in the Box" who was found dead folded inside a cardboard box – has puzzled investigators for the last 60 years.

He is known as "America's Unknown Child" as despite a massive investigation – no one has been able to figure out who the little boy is or who killed him.

On a cold February day in 1957, a hunter came across the cardboard box containing the naked boy's remains.

The child aged between three and seven was malnourished dirty with matted hair and covered in scars.

Despite distributing 40,000 flyers and a massive amount of media attention – no family members have ever come forward to claim him.

Post-mortem probes found the boy was underweight, whilst his skin was covered in scars – including surgical cuts – and fresh bruises.


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His hair has also been cut in what police believe was an attempt to conceal his identity and his fingernails were neatly trimmed.

The boy is believed to have been beaten to death.

The hunter who originally discovered the body failed to report the remains to cops because he feared they would confiscate his traps.

But it wasn't until February 25, that a 27-year-old student at LaSalle College found the body and reported it to cops a day later.

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He thought the child's remains could be a doll, but made the called it in when he heard of a New Jersey child going missing – however this case ended up not being related to The Boy in the Box.

The young victim had been placed in a JC Penney bassinet box before he was dumped in Susquehanna Road in Fox Chase.

After the fingerprints of the boy were taken, police uncovered evidence related to the case, including a child’s cap, scarf and handkerchief.

The shocking crime attracted a huge amount of media attention and was widely published in the local press in Philadelphia.

As the police struggled to find any leads, they decided to release a post-mortem photograph of the boy, who they dressed and posed in a sitting position.

And this year, facial recognition software was applied to get a sense of what the victim would have looked like.

But 60 years on the Box in the Boy remains a riddle with the killer still at large.

For decades crime sleuths have come up with chilling theories about what happened to the young boy and how ended up dumped in a box by his evil killers – and here are some of those theories:


Some theorists believe that the crime had something to do with a foster home, which was located just over a mile from where the body was uncovered.

One of the medical examiner’s employees, Remington Bristow, became fixated with solving the case.

In 1960, he contacted a psychic in New Jersey, who told the investigator to search for a house that resembled a foster home.

As officers scoured the property, they spotted a bassinet which could have fit into a JC Penney box.

Bristow also claimed that the blankets in the foster home closely resembled the ones wrapped around the unidentified victim.

Despite speculation, police were unable to find any solid links to the crime.


A shocking confession blew the case wide open in 2002 by a person who the police identified only as M.

The woman, who had a history of mental illness, claimed that her abusive mum had “purchased” the young boy from another family.

In her extensive police interview, the witness also claimed that the boy was sexually and physically abused for two and a half years before he was killed.

Disturbingly, she insisted that her parents had punished the boy after he vomited in the bathtub, and he passed away after being slammed onto the floor.

A factor that gives her story some credibility is that a witness spotted them moving a box from the trunk of their car.

The women ignored the man’s offer to help them carry their box, so could this have been the body of the unidentified child?

When officers followed up the lead, M’s extended family denied ever seeing a young boy in the household.


In 1961, Philadelphia investigators questioned Kenneth Dudley and his wife Irene Dudley to determine if the Boy in the Box had been one of the middle-aged couple's 10 children.

The entire family would travel up and down the country alongside Kenneth as he looked for work.

But the Dudleys came to the attention of law enforcement when one of their children – 7-year-old Carol Ann – died as a result of neglect, malnutrition, and exposure.

Instead of burying their young child's body in a cemetery, the couple wrapped their daughter in a blanket and placed her body in a wooded area in Virginia.

It then emerged that seven of the family's ten children starved to death and none of them received a proper burial.

After questioning the Dudleys and watching their movements the cops determined that the couple were not linked to the boy in the box.


Another theory states that the boy in the box could have actually been raised as a girl – which has led to no one being able to identify him.

Forensic artist Frank Bender believes the boy's hastily cut hair and the fact his eyebrows appeared to have been plucked suggest this.

"I'm almost certain that they've been missing the boat because they've been showing a boy and he is a boy, but the boy, I believe, was dressed as a girl," he told ABC in 2008.

Photos of the "boy" distributed, including the eerie shots of his remains posed in male clothes, would have meant anyone who knew him could not recognise him.

The theory was briefly explored in the 1950s – but at the time produced no leads.

Mr Bender however produced his own sketch in an effort to drum up new leads to help solve the case.


In 1955, three-year-old Steven Craig Damman was kidnapped outside a supermarket.

As descriptions of both of the boys are similar, police explored the theory that they could both be the same person.

X-rays, footprints and medical records were researched as officers attempted to bring the case to a close.

Despite speculation, it’s unlikely that two victims were the same person due to a number of key differences.

While the boy in the box didn’t appear to be struggling with any organ problems, Steven was under treatment for kidney growth when he was kidnapped.

Investigators also couldn’t find Steven’s distinctive freckle on the back of the body’s calf.

However, cops learned that Steve had broken his arm before his disappearance while the boy in the box has no fractures.

Their footprints also didn't match and in 2003 when DNA experts were able to come evidence from the two boys, no matches were made.

The unknown child's body was buried in a potter's field with cops paying for his funeral but his body was exhumed in 1998 so experts could gather DNA evidence.

He was reburied at the Ivy Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia in a donated coffin and was given a headstone inscribed with 'America's unknown child'.

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Despite this, members of the crime-solving club the Vidocq Society hold an annual memorial service to pay their respects to the boy.

A website dedicated to the boy in the box mystery was also set up where people can provide information that might solve the riddle.

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