The American police announced that, thanks to new DNA and genealogical techniques, they were able to solve the mystery of a 65-year-old murder when they succeeded in identifying a child whose body was found inside a box in the late 1950s in Philadelphia, while the perpetrator has not yet been found.
On February 25, 1957, the body of the child was found with several bruises on it, and it was wrapped in a blanket and placed inside a box in a wooded area of the city in the northeastern United States.
“The boy appeared to be malnourished (…) and it was clear that during his short life he had faced horrors that no one should be subjected to,” Philadelphia Police Chief Danielle Outlaw told a news conference.
The results of the autopsy stated that the victim was 4 to 6 years old, but no one came to claim his body, and the investigation in the “little child inside the box” case did not reach his identity despite conducting DNA tests at the time.
In 2019, the police decided to exhume the child’s remains after developing new forensic techniques, according to Captain Jason Smith.
Test results were uploaded to DNA databases and then analyzed by genealogists who were able to identify the biological mother. Investigators found a birth certificate for one of the sons born in 1953. Then, new analyzes made it possible to determine the identity of the father and the birthday of the child, Joseph Augustus Zarrelli, born on January 13, 1953.
The police did not mention the identities of the parents, but noted that the child has “a number of siblings” who are alive. “The murder investigation will continue and we will always need the Americans’ help to obtain additional details regarding his life story,” said Danielle Outlaw.
At the end of October, a mystery was solved in another case in the northeastern United States. As the Federal Police announced the identification of a woman who was found dead and cut off in 1974 on a beach on the east coast of the United States, the criminal was not found in this case either. Ruth Marie Terry, of Tennessee, was 37 years old when she was killed.
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