The Mystery of The Boy in the Box

Mackenzie VanSickle, Journalist

On February 25, 1957 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania a boy was found dead in a box. This is now one of the craziest unsolved cases America has ever had. 

In Philadelphia a young man found the body of boy in a box in an illegal dumping ground near Bury Rd.. Strangely this was not the first person to find the boy, and older man had come across the body, but he didn’t report it to the police because he did not want to get involvedThe younger man also took twenty-four hours to report the body making it challenging to find the time of death. The boy found in the box was between the ages of four and six, he was thirty pounds, and was three feet and three inches. He was found unclothes but wrapped in a blanket.  He was recently bathe and had a haircut. He also had scars on his chin, groin, and left ankle. This suggested he went under a medical procedure. The cause of death was a head trauma and there was no witnesses. 

 In hope of finding out the boy’s identity the police left the body at the morgue. People from ten different states went to the morgue to try and find out the identity of the young boy, this came up with no leadsInvestigators sent out over four hundred thousand fliers of the boy’s face all over the country in hope someone would recognize the boyEven, American Medical Association sent out a description of the boy. Investigators also went to nearby hospitals and compared finger and footprints but there was no evidence to prove that this boy has never existed. 

One key clue came from the box the boy was found in. It had a serial number; this help investigators pinpoint the location to where the box had come from. It was from a JC Penny 15 miles away from the crime scene. The box was originally to hold a bassinet. JC Penny had shipped out twelve of the boxes, but everyone had paid in cash. Only eight of the twelve contacted the investigators after reading about it in the newspaper to tell them they either still had the box or put it out in the trash. The investigators were only able to decide that the box was shipped to Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.  

Another clue was from the blanket that the boy had been wrapped in. The Philadelphia Textile Institute The blanket was either made in North Carolina or Granby, Quebec Canada. There was no way to tell where that blanket had been bought from and by who because there had been thousands made like it. 

The last clue was a Blue Corduroy Ivy League Style Cap that was found fifteen feet away from the box the boy was found in. It was a size seven and one-eighth from Eagle Hat and Cap Company made by Hannah Robins in South Carolina. Robins had remembered the guy who bought that exact hat because he customized it to have a leather strap and buckle to be added to the backShe described the man as blonde and between the ages of twenty-six and thirty. He had paid her in cash, and she hadn’t seen him since. Investigators went around that area asking people who had worked in nearby shops if they had seen that man and showed them pictures of the boy that had been found in the box. No one seemed to remember him. 

Investigators had found hair on the boy’s body indicted that he had recently had a haircut. Frand Bender believes that this boy was raised as a girl. Bill Kelly and investigator in the case has recounts that in 1957 and 1958 a west coast artist did a drawling to show the boy that was found in the box, but he looked like a girl. 

The first theory is by authors Lou Romano and Jim Hoffman. They had come across a lead from a man who rented a place to a man who had told them he had sold his son and that this man could be the boy that was found in the box potential father. Investigators investigated the potential father and his potential brother, and they could see similarities between the three. Like, there chin, ear, and nose were all the sameThe investigators took DNA from the potential brother, but they did not state they did not test it to the boy’s that was found in the box the investigators only said they will “investigate further. 

The third theory is from Remington Bristow, he used thousands of dollars of his own money and traveled to Texas and Arizona for leads, he investigated this case for thirty-six years.  He went to a physic in hope they would find some information to help solve this case. He even went as far as carrying around a mask made from the boy’s face in hopes someone would recognize it. Bristow theory had been that the boy’s death had been and accident, his cut hair and nails showed that he was weel taken care of. He also thought the family of the boy never came forward because they didn’t want to be charged with murder. The physic held the staples of a bassinet that was shipped from the box the boy was found in. He investigated a nearby foster family because of a clue from the physic, investigators had also already investigated this family. At one of the family’s garage sale, they were selling a bassinet that could of came from the box the boy had been found in. He started to put together a theory that the boys were the son of one of the daughters who lived inside that house and that the daughter had abandoned him because she didn’t want it to be revealed that she was a single parentBristow had sadly passed away in 1993 but a detective tom Augustine took over the case where Bristow had left off. Augustine went to the house of Arthur Nicoleth, the man who ran the former foster care home. Nicoleth wife and stepdaughter Anna Marie was the women that Bristow theorized to be the boy’s mother. Anna Marie admitted that she did have a son who passed away with records by the morgue by electrocution at a young age by a nickel ride outside of a store. 

The third and strongest theory came from a woman who is a psychiatrist in Cincinnati, she called investigators for one of her patients named Martha who had insisted on talking to the investigators. Martha had claimed that her mom when she was eleven took Martha to this house where she handed a guy an envelope over for a boy. Martha had claimed that her mom would abuse her and wanted to do the same to the boy. Martha said that the boy died after her mom had beat him to death after struggling to give him a bathThen Her mom had drove both to Philadelphia where she had abandoned the boy. Martha had spoken with Tom Augustine, Joseph Mcquillen, and William Kelly. Mcquillen and Kelly were both one of the first people to be on this case. All three of the investigators were convinced that this is what had happened to the boy. A retired FBI agent said that Martha’s story had added up by the testimonies, addresses, and descriptions. Even with this lead investigators could not tell if the boy was who Martha had said he was.  

The boy in the box is currently buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. HIs graved is craved “America’s Unknown Child”.