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Thread: PA - Philadelphia - "Boy in the Box" / America's Unknown Child, 1957

  1. #26
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    If this case were givien more publicity I wonder if a kid from the home might come forward 50 years later.

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  3. #27
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    you know this kid might have never seen the light of day, or the few people who saw him might not remember or be dead by now, and the parents might not have had any other kids... there might have even just been one parent as the father maybe never even knew... so if the parent/s are long gone by now then there might be no one left alive who even knew about him. i honestly think as far as this case goes, that at this point we'll never know.
    forgive me if this has been discussed, but it's possible this kid was the result of a nun & priest 'having communion' together.. i used to know a mother & daughter who had an antique store that was once a convent, and they said when they renovated the basement the workers found baby skeletons (or was it fetus skeletons??) down there. is that creepy (and sad) or what????? so.. i know these kinds of things went on... maybe this kid was kept hidden somewhere and he could have died from anything- some kind of disease or epidemic, malnutrition, & his parents were destitute and couldn't afford a funeral.. another possibility- there could have been a home for the disabled, retarded or blind, or an insane asylum-- and i know there were lots of unwanted pregnanices in places like these. what happened to all these children (that were born)? how he made it to the age he was was unusual though. also maybe he was retarded, autistic or disabled himself.. he may have also been a child of rape. maybe his mother was infirmed or never wanted to have him in the first place (esp if she had been raped).

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  5. #28
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    Is there any thing from an autospy that could point to mental retardation. Some kind of bone formation, head shape, etc?

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  7. #29
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    he also could have been the only (or the first) child to a couple, or a mother (if the father was not in the picture)-- and the couple or mother could have told others later on, that she had a child years ago but it died... and no one thought anything of it. the question of how the child lived to be that old w/o anyone noticing or remembering him points to 2 things- (as said before)- he never saw the light of day or was hidden (this to me points to: 1-poverty, 2-shame of 'illicit' pregnancy due to status, religion or rape; or 3-retardation) or whoever had him moved around a lot.

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  9. #30
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    Below are two links to stories about the "boy in the box". This case has intrigued me for years.

    http://boyinthebox.bravehost.com/updates.htm
    http://americasunknownchild.net/default.htm

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  11. #31
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    unkown boy

    I believe this story has been on the show Unsolved Mysteries and it was also featured on an crime show I think the show was CSI or simular to that, I also believe that AMW featured this story but I could be mistaken I also believe that more attention needs to be focused on the care takers at the childrens homes as well just because of the hat that was found at the scene the people who made it said that it was only one in 12 made like that and that particular hat she remembers because the man asked if she could put a strap on it, like I said someone has to remember something and kids pay attention to details "like hats" its a small piece of info but I am wondering if the person that wore that hat was just nasty enough to be remembered by a kid. Details like colors, smells and objects I think are remembered when they are associated with a possible bad memory, because anybody that would dump the body of a little boy or even help to dump the body could not have had that great of a personality. These people may be all but gone that did this but the fact remains in my mind that this little guy still deserves justice as would anybody.

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  13. #32
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    This is such a sad story. I remember coming across it on the web and looking at the sketchs that were released of the little lad and thinking that tme was slipping away as many of the people in that area and possibly the perpatrator/s could be dead by now.

    Did anyone see the episode of Cold Case based on this story?

  14. #33
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    Hi
    I feel they will find thier answers with the Horsham suspects.

    http://www.americasunknownchild.net/...ext.html#fourq

    http://www.americasunknownchild.net/...Text.html#momq


    http://americasunknownchild.net/Arch...ext.html#CSIBM

    In the article mother of 9 quizzed,she was questioned bacause she looked like the lady near the car that was seen near the area of where the boy in the box was found.If you look closely she resembles the Horsham suspect lady.There is a boy in the Horsham suspect picture the may resemble the couple found near (lady and boy)the car near the area where the boy in the box was found.

    I feel the boy died getting his hair cut in the bath.He was fighting because he did not want his hair cut.I believe the autopsy said no old bruises?Did he change care takers or was he visiting someone.



    suzanne

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  16. #34
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    Hey Suzanne, Good to see you back here!
    I thought the bruises were a mix of old and new but the haircut bruises were new, I think thatts how they knew he had his hair cut recently.

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  18. #35
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    Hi
    Hey.How are you?I'm not sure about the bruises.I was kind of confused about that.I thought they said the bruises were all inflicted at the same time.I don't know.I'll have to go try and find it.I really felt sorry for this little boy.I hope and pray they find out who he is through DNA somewhere.God is holding him now and taking care of him now.

    suzanne

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  20. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by suzannec4444
    Hi
    Hey.How are you?I'm not sure about the bruises.I was kind of confused about that.I thought they said the bruises were all inflicted at the same time.I don't know.I'll have to go try and find it.I really felt sorry for this little boy.I hope and pray they find out who he is through DNA somewhere.God is holding him now and taking care of him now.

    suzanne
    Hiya, this is all I could find doing a quick look over at the case summary:

    There were many bruises all over the child's body; particularly on the head and face. All of the bruises appeared to have been inflicted at the same time.

    http://americasunknownchild.net/summary.htm

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  22. #37
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    Was reading the timeline, and I'm confused, I had always thought/assumed, the bassinett box was discarded w/the little boys body, this states otherwise, did anyone else catch this and/or assume as I did??

    To summarize, the sequence of events may have been as follows:

    1. Monday, February 11, 1957 - Fred Benonis' initial visit to the Susquehanna Road site. He did not see the J.C. Penney bassinet carton or the boy's body at that time.

    2. Late February 1957 (specific date unknown, but probably not more than a few days prior to February 23rd) - The empty J.C. Penney bassinet carton was discarded at the site by person(s) unknown. The blue cap was probably left at the site at about the same time.

    3. Saturday, February 23, 1957 (a.m.) - Alleged death of the unknown boy in Lower Merion, PA.

    4. Saturday, February 23, 1957 (5 - 5:30 p.m.) - The body of the unknown boy was allegedly disposed of at the Susquehanna Road site by "M" and her mother. A male motorist reportedly witnessed them at the scene as they were preparing to remove the boy's body from the trunk of their car.

    5. Sunday, February 24, 1957 (1:30 p.m.) - John Powroznik discovered the boy's body while returning home from a basketball game. He did not mention this incident to anyone.

    6. Monday, February 25, 1957 (3:15 p.m.) - Fred Benonis returned to the Susquehanna Road site and discovered the body.

    7. Tuesday, February 26, 1957 (10:10 a.m.) - Fred Benonis reported his discovery to the Philadelphia police department. Police officers arrived at the scene by 10:40 a.m.

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  24. #38
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    Hi
    If the bruises were inflicted at the same time.That tells me there were not other bruises mentioned in different stages of healing.I don't think they mentioned older bruises.I feel he was beat on the legs as discipline to try and give him a haircut and he fought getting one.There could have been two people trying to give him this hair cut.the bruises inflicted at the same time I feel tells me he was not beat before at least not on a regular basis.I feel he may have changed caretakers or was visiting someone.

    suzanne

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  26. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by suzannec4444
    Hi
    If the bruises were inflicted at the same time.That tells me there were not other bruises mentioned in different stages of healing.I don't think they mentioned older bruises.I feel he was beat on the legs as discipline to try and give him a haircut and he fought getting one.There could have been two people trying to give him this hair cut.the bruises inflicted at the same time I feel tells me he was not beat before at least not on a regular basis.I feel he may have changed caretakers or was visiting someone.

    suzanne
    I think someone else may have also mentioned this, but, one o f my 1st theories was he did as a lot of kids do and gave himself a haircut and this lead to the beating that resulted in his death, but, after rereading, it appeared he was nude when his hair was cut, so that doesn't line up with me that he was the one who cut his hair. What you are saying makes more sense to me.

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  28. #40
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    Catholic Charities Adoptions

    I was doing some research and found an article that is strange in 1952 there was a church (St Annes) that was associated with the Catholic Charities Adoptions, in the article it mentions that a woman gave birth to a baby that was given up and the church assigned the woman an alias. I am not saying that this baby was the unknown boy but it makes a person wonder if one persons adoption was handled this way then how many (and I am sure several) were handled this way, in which case were back to square zero because if this boy was adopted out and he was sickly the "adoptive parents" could have brought him back which was not unheard of back then

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  30. #41
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    Maybe he had better things to do...

    Quote Originally Posted by christine2448
    ...
    5. Sunday, February 24, 1957 (1:30 p.m.) - John Powroznik discovered the boy's body while returning home from a basketball game. He did not mention this incident to anyone...
    ...But didn't think it was important enough to mention...

    What an Idiot.

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  32. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard
    ...But didn't think it was important enough to mention...

    What an Idiot.
    Was he the one who found the body while "peeping" on the girls at the homes? I recall reading somewhere that someone found him while being a peeping tom but was afraid to come forward.

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  34. #43
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    A memorial service will be held for this poor boy on February 26 at 10am in Ivy Hill Cemetary.


    http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/16670732.htm

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  36. #44
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    It's Been 50 Years. We Still Don't Know His Name

    He was only a little boy. Somewhere between 4 and 6 years old, with blue eyes, fair complexion and medium to light brown hair, crudely cut. His nude, severely malnourished body was wrapped in a cheap cotton flannel blanket, placed inside a cardboard box that originally housed a white bassinet. Deep bruises covered much of the boy's frame and face, a telltale indication of prolonged abuse. Tossed aside like trash off an isolated rural road, lying there for days, perhaps weeks, before anyone found him.



    Fifty years later, an old man leans by the boy's gravestone, sidestepping the plush toys and flowers that have been left on the ground nearby. He smiles, thinking about the many hundreds of similar artifacts placed by well-wishers and sympathetic visitors in the nearly 10 years that the boy has lain here. It's a brisk January day and he almost didn't make it to the cemetery. It's hard enough for him to drive and snow falling hard just a few minutes before made him understandably nervous. But the snow has stopped, replaced by brilliant sunshine breaking over the sky. He moves even closer and utters a prayer, inaudible to anyone around him but full of heartfelt sentiment that echoes loud and clear:

    That he will live long enough for the one piece of news that has eluded him for decades, even as he grows increasingly resigned that this may never come.

    He is the Boy in the Box, America's Unknown Child and more recently, Jonathan. Names used interchangeably, but always with a sense of incompleteness, because none is his for-sure true one. Years of voluminous leads, promising theories and fluctuating spotlights, and the answers are still frustratingly out of reach. With the 50th anniversary of the boy's death approaching, the probability of a definitive outcome grows ever slimmer as his strongest advocates grow older, more infirm and die off. The case's most active homicide investigator retired recently from the Philadelphia Police Department, with no replacement in sight. Even a dedicated Web site (at www.americasunknownchild.net) by an interested layman lies fallow after his unexpected death two months ago. When they are gone, who will be left to speak for the boy?

    http://www.citypaper.net/articles/20...15/boy-missing

    This is a very sad story. It's highly unlikely someone will come forward with info after all this time. It's sad to think this case will no longer get followed up on. This boy needs his real name gracing his headstone.

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  38. #45
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    "Boy in a Box" Anniversary

    A special ceremony was held this morning to mark the 50th anniversary of Philadelphia's most infamous, unsolved murder.

    http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?se...cal&id=5069920

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  40. #46
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    another article

    this is from philly.com

    Posted on Tue, Feb. 27, 2007


    The 'Boy in the Box' mystery, 50 years on

    By Joseph A. Gambardello

    Inquirer Staff Writer





    Deanna Gannon came to a snow-covered Ivy Hill Cemetery in the gray morning chill yesterday with a single white rose for a boy more loved in death than he was in life.

    He has no name, but Gannon - like many of her generation who grew up in Philadelphia in the 1950s - remembers his face.

    And so she joined with a dwindling band of retired investigators in marking the 50th anniversary of what has become known as the Boy in the Box case.

    There was Elmer Palmer, the police officer who found the boy's bruised and undernourished body in a bassinet box on a field Feb. 26, 1957, in a then-rural part of Fox Chase.

    There was Bill Kelly, a onetime police photographer who searched hundreds of medical and immigration records trying to put a name to the face that touched a city. And there was Joe McGillen, a former medical examiner's office investigator, who with Kelly and other members of the Vidocq Society - a group of professional and amateur sleuths - is still trying to solve the crime.

    Joining them for the first time was Detective Regina Byarm, the latest Police Department homicide investigator assigned to oversee case H-57-22.

    Gannon, too, was making her first visit to the boy's grave site, which had been in Potter's Field until his remains were moved to Ivy Hill in 1998.

    Gannon was 12 when the case broke. Since then, she has become the mother of five and the grandmother of 10.

    "I remember the poster [of the boy's face] going to the store in our neighborhood," said Gannon, of Gwynedd Valley. "It's such a tragedy. Who would be so cruel?"

    The boy was 4 to 6 years old and had been beaten. His light brown hair had been crudely chopped. His nude body was wrapped in a cheap blanket.

    McGillen recalled that investigators felt they would break the case in days, if not hours.

    "Now, 50 years later, we're still in the same position... It's still a mystery," he said.

    He noted that others who had taken the case to heart have since died, including Remington Bristow, a former medical examiner's investigator; and George Knowles, who created the America's Unknown Child Web site dedicated to the case.

    At yesterday's graveside ceremony, Kelly offered prayers. A bagpiper played "Amazing Grace" and other hymns.

    It was Kelly who observed that the boy "had more love in death than he encountered in life."

    And William Fleisher, a former police officer and FBI agent who is commissioner of the Vidocq Society in Philadelphia, said that as long as the boy is remembered, there is chance that one day his name could be chiseled into his tombstone, no longer unknown.

    Contact staff writer Joseph Gambardello at 215-854-2153 or jgambardello@phillynews.com.
    Giles: "Let's not jump to any conclusions."
    Buffy: "I didn't jump. I took one tiny step, and there conclusions were."

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  42. #47
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    Bumping him up. Can a mod move this sweet little guy to the unknown section maybe? He is the first Doe I ever came across and who led me to missing kids and Does and then here. I never gave stuff like this much thought until him.

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  44. #48
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    I had before brought up if there was any way to know if he was menatlly retarded or had some sort of disability. I was curious b/c I thought maybe he was dropped off at an institution as an infant or toddler once a disability or retardation became apparent, as many parents did with diasbled kids back then. Is it possible he was accidentaly killed at a mental institution? I know some were not the friendliest of places.
    This case breaks my heart so much and I doubt he will ever have a name.

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  46. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2sisters View Post
    I thought the bruises were a mix of old and new but the haircut bruises were new, I think thatts how they knew he had his hair cut recently.
    On the Doe Network it says "His body was beaten, although coroners' investigations were unable to pinpoint any previous broken bones or inflicted trauma." and "Strands of the child's own hair were present on his body, leading authorities to believe that his hair had been cut shortly before or following his homicide."


    Here's the updated Doe Network link:
    http://doenetwork.org/cases/4umpa.html

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  48. #50
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    I just can't quit thinking about this boy tonight. Do hospitals keep medical records from that far back? maybe an older Phila hospital has records from his surgery? Is it even possible for someone to comb through records from, say, 1950-1956 to look for anything? Then again he may not even be local. He could be anyone from anywhere.
    I guess that is impossible, what with hopitals changing hands, merging, closing and it being 50 years later.
    I still just think he was disabled or mentally challenged in some way.

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