The Boy in the Box
Unsolved Mystery of "The Boy in the Box"
On the morning of February 25, 1957, the body of a young boy between the age of three and seven was found in the Fox Chase section of Philadelphia. A young man who was trapping animals found the body, and in fear of having his traps taken away, he didn't tell the police what he saw. A few days later another young man saw a rabbit running under a bush, and decided to investigate because he knew about animal traps. He discovered the body, and he too was going to keep quiet, but decided to tell the police. After being told about the boy's body, the police launched an investigation. 400,000 flyers were put in The Philadelphia Inquire. 270 police recruits combed over the crime scene and found a handkerchief with the letter G on the corner, a child's scar, and a man's blue corduroy hat. The police even took it a step further, and a postmortem photo of the boy fully dressed and sitting in a chair was distributed to the public. The police hoped that this photo would lead to clues about the identity of the boy, but nothing came of it. There are many theories and tips about this case, and even though most of them lead nowhere, there were two that stood out to police. The first theory came from a psychic. The psychic said that the boy was from a foster home that was less than a mile away from where the body was discovered. A man and his stepdaughter ran the foster home. Soon after the stepdaughter became pregnant out of wedlock. Embarrassed by this, the man kept the child a secret which would explain why he was malnourished. The police tried to locate the man and his stepdaughter and finally found them, now married. They were interviewed, but no links between the foster home and the child were found. The second theory came to police in February 2002 by a woman known only as Martha, who told police that her mother had purchased the boy whose name was Jonathan from his biological parents in the summer of 1954. She then told police that the boy was abused by her mother, both physically and sexually, for two and a half years. During one evening the boy vomited up his dinner of baked beans and was severely beaten for it. Her mother then put the boy in the bath where he died. The police had not told the public about finding baked beans in the child's stomach and how the child's fingers were waterlogged. After the boy died, Martha's mother then cut the boys distinctively long hair and made Martha help her dispose of the body. However, before they could dump the boy's body, a good Samaritan stopped and asked the two women if they needed help. Even though Martha's story included evidence that only the police knew, they decided to talk to a neighbor who was friends with both women. The neighbor told police that they had been inside the home and there was no evidence that a little boy had ever lived there. The neighbor also told police that Martha was mentally ill and that her story was ridiculous. A forensic artist by the name of Frank Bender developed a theory that the victim was born a female, and whoever killed her cut off her hair to hide her identity. Bender then released a sketch of what the victim would look like as a female, but still, no one came to claim that they knew the victim. The boy's body was buried in Potter's Cemetery, but later was dug up for DNA evidence. He was later reburied at Ivy Hill Cemetery. His identity and his murder remain unsolved.