Exclusive News

Baby Box


The Boy in the Box.

 The Boy in the Box, also called the Unknown Child of America, is the name given to the body of an unidentified child who was 3 to 7 years old, the child was found naked dead in a cardboard box in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA on February 25, 1957. His identity has not yet been discovered and his case is still open today.

Boy in the Box
A Boy is found in the Box 

Discovery of the body

In February 1957, the child's body, wrapped in a patterned blanket, was found in the woods off Susquehanna Road in the Fox Chase neighborhood, Philadelphia. The naked body was inside a cardboard box that once contained a bed of the type sold by J.C. Penney. The child's hair had been neatly cut and his nails naturally trimmed. There were signs of severe malnutrition, as well as surgical scars on the ankle and groin, and an L-shaped scar under the chin.

The body was first discovered by a young man who was examining musk mousetraps. Fearing that his traps would be confiscated by the police, he did not report what he found. A few days later, a university student saw a rabbit running through the bushes, parked his car to examine it and accidentally discovered the body. He, too, was reluctant to report it to the police, but reported his discovery the next day.


The police received the report and opened an investigation on February 26, 1957. The fingerprints of the dead child were taken, and the police were initially optimistic and confident that he would soon be identified. However, no one ever came up with any useful information.

The case attracted considerable attention from the media in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer distributed 400,000 leaflets about the boy's photo throughout the region in hopes of identifying him, and they were included in every Philadelphia gas bill. The crime scene was repeatedly combed by 270 police academy recruits who discovered his blue cotton cover, scarf and handkerchief, but all this evidence led them to nothing. The police went further, photographing the child fully dressed in a sitting position, as he appeared when he was alive, in the hope that these images would lead them to any evidence. Despite sporadic controversy and interest over the years, the boy's identity remains unknown. The issue remains unresolved to this day.

On March 21, 2016, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released a reconstruction of the victim's face and added it to their database.


Many assumptions and theories were made concerning the case. Although most of these cases have been refuted and dismissed, two theories have aroused considerable interest among the police and the media, and have been extensively investigated.

Boy in the Box
Boy in the Box 

Mrs. M's theory.

Another theory emerged in February 2002 by a woman identified only as "M" whose story was considered plausible by the police, but she was troubled by her testimony because she had a history of mental illness. M claimed that her mother had bought the unknown child (whose name was Jonathan) from his parents in the summer of 1954. Later, the boy was subjected to severe physical and sexual abuse for two and a half years by her mother. One evening at dinner, the child vomited after eating a plate of beans and this caused anger by her mother, who beat him severely by hitting his head on the ground until he lost consciousness, so she tried to bring him back to consciousness, washed him and during the shower he died. These details correspond only to information known to the police, as the coroner found that the inside of the boy's abdomen contained the remains of baked beans and that his fingers were wrinkled from exposure to water.

M's mother then cut his distinctive long hair (which police noticed in their initial investigation where the boy's hair had been cut unprofessionally) in an attempt to conceal his identity. Mrs. M's mother then forced her daughter to help her dump the boy's body. She also stated that as they prepared to remove the child's body from the car, a passing man passed by and asked if they needed help, and Mrs. M's mother asked her daughter to stand in front of the car registration plate and obscure it from view, while the mother convinced the good man that there was no problem. The man drove away. This story matches a secret testimony given by a man in 1957, in which he said that the child's body was placed in a discarded box that was in the parking space.
Boy in the Box
Young boy was killed by unknown persons

Despite the plausibility of the theory, the police were unable to verify her story. Neighbors who arrived at M's house during the announced time period denied that there was a young boy living there and rejected M's claims.

Other theories.

Forensic artist Frank Bender (1941–2011) developed a theory that the child victim may have been raising girls, relying on a non-professional haircut that was hastily done, and on the shape of the eyebrows that resembled those of girls. Frank Binder later painted a portrait of the child victim with long hair based on the marks found on the body.


The child is buried in a pottery field (a cemetery designated for the burial of unidentified persons in the United States). In 1998, his body was exhumed for the purpose of DNA extraction. He was reburied at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Cedarbrook in Philadelphia. There was a large public presence and media coverage in the Rivial. The tomb contains a tombstone with the words "Unknown American Child". Residents of the city surrounded the tomb with flowers and stuffed animals.