‘America’s unknown child’: Philadelphia police identify boy found dead in a box 65 years ago

Finally, after 65 years, the Philadelphia police were able to identify the boy who was found dead in a box. The police revealed his name. The four-year-old was identified as Joseph Augustus Zarelli through investigation and DNA analysis, CNN reported. 

The traumatic decades-old incident dates back to February 25, 1957, when Joseph’s body was discovered wrapped in a blanket inside a cardboard box. The child was originally buried in a potter’s field in the city till 1998. 

The unsolved case attracted immense public interest. 

As per police officials, the mystery remained unsolved as no one came forward to claim Joseph as their child. 

City’s Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw at a press conference said, “For sixty-five years, the story of America’s Unknown Child has haunted this community, the Philadelphia Police Department, our nation, and the world.”

He added that techniques used in Joseph’s case will help the department in assisting cold cases and that there will be no unidentified victims in the city. 

As per the city’s homicide unit Captian Smith, the boy was “severely beaten” and had multiple bruises on his body. He added that the child had multiple abrasions, contusions and a subdural haemorrhage. 

Though the officials are celebrating Joseph being identified, the mystery still remains half solved as the investigation into who was responsible still continues. 

Police refused to identify Joseph’s parents who are dead, but stated that he has siblings who are alive. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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