By Steve Pedry  08/12/22

Boy In The Box: DNA Identifies Victim As Joseph Augustus Zarelli

Police have recognised a small child who was discovered dead in a box in Philadelphia more than 60 years ago.

The child, dubbed the "Boy in the Box" for centuries, has been identified as Joseph Augustus Zarelli.

Police say DNA technology and detective work helped them finally identify the youngster in the city's oldest unsolved murder case.

According to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, the mystery had "haunted this neighbourhood."

At a press conference on Wednesday, police said they would not publicise the boy's parents' names and would not declare who was to blame for his death.

The matter is still under investigation, according to the police, who are appealing to the public for assistance in filling in the blanks of the boy's life.

Detectives tried to use DNA to identify the boy's remains before, but the sample was insufficient. A forensic specialist later used the boy's DNA to identify relatives.

Authorities looked through birth and adoption records to find the boy's relatives. According to the department, he was born on January 13, 1953.

In February 1957, the remains of a four- to six-year-old boy were found in a forested section of Philadelphia's Fox Chase neighbourhood.

The boy was naked and heavily bruised, weighed 30 pounds, and had multiple tiny scars, according to NCMEC. He was murdered, police said.