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He was born on Jan 13, 1953. Police believe he was from West Philadelphia. Joseph has multiple living siblings. Police say it is out of respect for them that they are not releasing the birth parents' names. His birth parents were identified and through birth certificates they were able to generate the lead to identify this boy. Both parents are now deceased. Police do not know who is responsible for his death.
Boy in the Box
The 'Boy in the Box' was the name given to a 3-7 year old boy whose naked, extensively beaten body was found on the side of Susquehanna Road, in Philadelphia, USA. He was found on 25 February 1957.
He had been cleaned and freshly groomed with a recent haircut and trimmed fingernails. He had undergone extensive physical abuse before his death with multiple bruises on his body and found to be malnourished. His body was covered in scars, some of which were surgical (such as on his ankle, groin, and chin). The doctor believed this was due to the child receiving IV fluids while he was young and the police reached out to hospitals to try to identify him. A death mask was made of this child and when investigators would try to chase up a lead they would have this mask with them. Police went to all the orphanages and foster homes to see all kids were accounted for. A handkerchief found was a red herring.
His cause of death was believed to be homicide by blunt force trauma. Police have an idea of who the killer(s) may be but they said it would be irresponsible to name them.
In December 2022, the boy was publicly identified as Joseph Augustus Zarelli.
Dr Colleen Fitzpatrick from Identifiers said that this was the most difficult case of her career - 2 years to get the DNA in shape to be tested.
Source: you can watch the livestream here: https://6abc.com/boy-in-the-box-identified-philadelphia-cold-case-watch-news-conference-live-name/12544392/
wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Joseph_Augustus_Zarelli
Please mention anything I may have missed from the livestream and I will update this post to include it.