‘Boy in the box’ murder victim finally identified after chilling 65-year mystery

The identity of a previously-unknown deceased child has been uncovered using cutting-edge new technology – 65 years after he was found.

The "Boy in the Box", an infamous Philidelphia, USA, cold case finally had information on who he is uncovered for the first time today (Thursday, December 8).

He has been named as Joseph Augustus Zarelli, born January 13, 1953, meaning he was no more than four years old when he was tragically murdered.

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He was found in 1957 wrapped in a blanket in a cardboard box from shop JC Penny, with experts believing he had been dead a number of days when he was found.

The nightmare box was discovered on February 25, in the Philadelphia neighbourhood of Fox Chase, according to the US-basedNational Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

Speaking at a news conference, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, said: “In his very short life, it was apparent that this child experienced horrors that no one, no one should ever be subjected to."

It is understood that advances in the science surrounding DNA technology were the key to the revelation of his identity.

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The commissioner continued: “When people think about the Boy in the Box, a profound sadness is felt, not just because the child was murdered, but because his entire identity and his rightful claim to own his existence was taken away.

“For 65 years, the story of who would come to be known as America's unknown child has haunted this community.”

With Joseph's name now known, the case continues for law enforcement, who still find themselves with an ongoing investigation.

Police said they had been in touch with his maternal family and are understood to know the identity of his biological parents, although their identities remain anonymous as his siblings are still alive.

Commissioner Outlaw said: “This announcement only closes one chapter in this little boy's story by opening up a new one. This is still an active homicide investigation."

Philidelphia police captain Jason Smith said: “We have our suspicions as to who may be responsible, but it would be irresponsible of me to share these suspicions, as this remains an active and ongoing criminal investigation."

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