Friday, November 12, 2010






"Mordern day Lynching" The Keith Warren Murder Case

Blair Adams

Airliner Crash at Gander

Keith Warren
A Maryland teen is poisoned, but police say he committed suicide.

Keith Warren

The scene looked like suicide


Whose shoes was he wearing, and why?

On July 31, 1986, a mother’s quiet world was shattered. Her only son, 19-year-old Keith Warren, was dead. Keith had lived with his sister and mother since his parents' divorce when he was 10. By all accounts, Keith seemed destined for a promising future. Instead, his life had come to an untimely end.

Paramedics found Keith in a wooded area behind his family's townhouse. He was hanging by the neck from a small tree that was bent double with his weight. The elaborate arrangement of the hanging rope would later be the source of bitter debate. The cord was anchored around the base of a large tree. It extended some 25 feet to a small sapling. It encircled the sapling's trunk and then arched up through a fork. However, authorities saw nothing suspicious about the scene. After a brief visual inspection, the county's deputy medical examiner determined that Keith Warren had committed suicide. No autopsy was ordered and the body was dispatched to a funeral home for embalming. It was already dark when Keith's mother, Mary Couey, was informed of her son’s death:

“I didn't realize at the time that Keith's body was not in a morgue. There'd been no investigation and his body had been discovered maybe five or six hours earlier… I didn't know at the time that the officer had chosen a funeral home.”

Leaves on his back suggested he was lying down

Initially Keith's mother accepted the finding of suicide, but over time she found discrepancies too numerous to ignore. Her doubts began after she heard from a friend of Keith's named Rodney Kendell. Rodney reported that a parade of suspicious characters had been looking for Keith shortly before his death:

“It was mainly black males that were in the car. And Keith did not associate much with black males. Most of his friends were white males, so I thought that was pretty strange. After I told them I hadn't seen Keith, they left.”

Several days later, Rodney Kendell had another odd encounter, this time with a high school acquaintance of Keith’s named Mark Finley:

“He seemed pretty urgent. I thought it was strange because he acted like he needed to find Keith very quickly. And I told him I didn't know where Keith was and he left.”

Weeks after Keith’s death, Mary asked Rodney to show her the tree where her son’s body was found. But when they arrived to the site, they noticed that only the stump remained. Mary panicked and called the police:

“And they were very rude and told me that ‘Well, what do you want us to do? Yeah, we cut it down. What do you want us to do about it?’”

The body was exhumed and tested

The police said they needed to cut down the tree for evidence, but this seemed strange since they had already closed the case. Keith's mother no longer trusted the police or their explanations. She launched a letter-writing campaign, targeting state and federal officials. But for six long years, Mary Couey hit a stone wall every way she turned.

Then came April 9, 1992, her son's birthday. Keith would've been 25. That afternoon, Mary found a plain manila envelope at her doorstep. The stunning contents swept her back to the day of her son’s death. There were five pictures inside the envelope. Each showed a different view of Keith hanging by his neck. Mary forced herself to look, and in the process, found a glaring discrepancy:

“His clothing didn't fit him. He was wearing somebody else's clothing. But the real eye-catcher was that he was wearing white sneakers.”

For Mary Couey, it was a nightmarish inconsistency. It was her son in the photographs but whose clothes was he wearing? Whose white tennis shoes, and why was he wearing them? The only items of clothing the police returned to the family were Keith's jacket and brown boots. Neither was shown in the photographs, although authorities said that they had been found near Keith's body. Mary now feared police were working against her and hired private investigator, Joe Alercia:

“The police department conceded that they were copies of original police photos, but they had no idea where they came from, none whatsoever. They were questioned numerous times.”

When Joe Alercia examined the pictures, he noticed leaves on the back of Keith's shirt. To Alercia, this suggested Keith had been lying on the ground and was hoisted into a hanging position by someone else. Alercia said that his theory was bolstered by the complex path of the rope found at the scene:

“The perpetrators noticed that the tree was small and wouldn't hold the body. Therefore they needed some security by tying it around the big tree.”

Finally Keith's family had his body exhumed for an autopsy. The results were shocking. Tests on Keith’s body showed deadly levels of several powerful chemicals that are usually found in glue and solvents. According to forensic pathologist Dr. Isidore Mihalakis, the levels found in Keith’s body were more than enough to kill him:

“These substances can get in there by inhalation, or they can actually even be taken in by mouth… I believe that Keith Warren's death being listed as suicide is medically not supportable.”

Maryland's chief medical examiner reviewed the report and claimed the toxic chemicals were part of the embalming process. But Dr. Mihalakis disagreed:

“The substances found in Keith Warren's body could not have been introduced by the embalming fluid because, the embalmer, in his report never mentioned using any of those substances... Secondly the distribution of the key substance trichloroethane is more consistent with inhalation... And third, two additional substances were found which are totally unrelated to any embalming solution.”

But if the chemicals were not in the embalming fluid, where did they come from? Joe Alercia had his own theory:

“He could've been at a party with some drugs involved and he accidentally killed himself and they were afraid. And then they decided to take and hang him, make it look like a suicide… Or he could've been attacked from the back. And that particular chemical is so potent, that one chemist said that he was dead before he hit the ground.”

If Keith Warren didn’t hang himself, then who did hang him? In a final disturbing twist, the one person who might’ve answered that question also turned up dead under suspicious circumstances. Mark Finley was one of those who came looking for Keith a few days before he died. Six years later, when Mary received the photographs, a note attached to one said “don’t worry, Mark Finley will be next.” Two months after Mark learned he had been singled out, he contacted Mary Couey:

“Mark called my residence, left a message on my answering machine to the effect of something that said ‘Miss Warren, this is Mark Finley. I got your message and I will be by to see you.’ I do remember the specific words were ‘I need to unload.’”
One month later, Mark Finley was dead. According to the police, Finley died accidentally when he struck a curb and was thrown from his bike. But why was Mark Finley targeted in a threatening note? Did he truly have information about Keith Warren’s death? As with all the other nagging questions, the authorities have a standard answer—this case is closed.

Eight years after teen's death was ruled a suicide, family fights to get case opened as possible lynching in MD | Jet | Find Articles at BNET

Eight years after teen's death was ruled a suicide, family fights to get case opened as possible lynching in MD | Jet | Find Articles at BNET: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

"In memory of Natasha Jennings"

"The murder of Natasha Jennings."


Tammy searched for answers

In the summer of 1997, Carson City, Nevada, resident Sandra Jennings received an urgent call from her brother, Clarence Jennings. He was trying to locate his 16-year-old daughter, Natasha, who was visiting from California:

“I had called home. My sister answered the phone. I asked her if Tash was home. She set the phone down and she peeked out the back door. She didn't see her, so she went upstairs. And that's when I heard her scream.”

Sandra told Clearance that she had found Natasha on the floor. She's wasn’t breathing:

“I told her, ‘Well, hang up right now and call 911. I'm on my way’."

Natasha Jennings was already dead when the paramedics arrived. Ultimately, three theories about the cause of her death would emerge: drug abuse, sexual assault, and foul play.

Traces of cocaine were discovered

When Natasha Jennings was very young, her parents divorced. Natasha lived with her mother in southern California. By the time she was 16, Natasha wanted to reconnect with her father, Clarence. She hoped an extended visit to his home in Nevada would bridge the years of separation. At first, Natasha’s mother, Tammy Stelton, wasn’t keen on the idea:

“I told her no at first. I said, ‘No you're not going.’ But then I didn't want to put her in the middle of our disagreements. What I feel towards her father is my own business and doesn't involve her. That is her father.”

Sandra, Natasha’s aunt, was the last person to see her alive. They ate lunch together around 1:00. Later that afternoon, Clarence placed several calls to his daughter. He became more and more worried when he couldn’t reach her.

The cause of death is still undetermined

When police arrived at the scene, they found Natasha slumped on the bedroom floor. Her hair was damp as if she had just taken a shower. An electric fan lay on top of her.
Scott Burau of the Carson City Sheriff’s Office said police had to investigate the death as a homicide:

“Any time you have a young individual that's deceased for no specific apparent cause or reason, it's suspicious. It's treated as a homicide until such time as we can shift gears and say that it's something else.”

There were no signs of trauma. Still, investigators turned their attention to a young man Natasha had become close to, who we will call Chris. Allegations had been raised that Chris had sexually assaulted her just days before. The investigation revealed that Natasha and Chris went to a party together a few nights before she died. Those who had been drinking were invited to wait until morning to drive home. No one saw what Natasha and Chris did the rest of the night. According to Ingrid Cotar, a friend in California, a confused and traumatized Natasha called the following morning to tell her something had happened after the party:

“Natasha told me she was drinking and she had blacked out and that Chris had raped her.”

Chris was interrogated, but according to Scott Burau, detectives concluded that whatever happened between him and Natasha could not be considered criminal:

“The autopsy report was conclusive that she was not sexually assaulted.”

As soon as Natasha's mother, Tammy, learned about her daughter’s death, she rushed to Carson City:

“I spoke with everybody that she was around. I went to places that she had been. I handed out flyers—I mean, thousands upon thousands upon thousands.”

Then, one day, a woman approached her at a shopping center with some new information:

“And she was very scared. I said, ‘Please help me. Anything that you know.’ She was very skittish and watching over her shoulder and she said, ‘I know what happened to your daughter." She wrote her telephone number down, and she goes, ‘Here.’ She goes, ‘Call me.’"

The woman claimed that Natasha's father, Clarence, was a drug informant for local law enforcement. She said his cover had been blown and the drug dealers killed Natasha in retaliation. Clarence Jennings denied the claim:

“My ex-wife had asked me, is there any possibility that they might have had something to do with it in retaliation for my being an informant for the police department? And my jaw dropped. I've never been an informant for the police department.”

Natasha's mother said she and other relatives confronted one of the Carson City detectives assigned to Natasha's case:

“And we asked him if he was aware that Natasha's father was an informant, and he didn't deny it at all. He said, yes, he was aware of it.”

Scott Burau claimed that Tammy was mistaken:

“I can say based upon our records, Clarence Jennings was not, nor was he ever, a documented informant for either agency.”

But soon, another theory emerged. Investigators thought that Natasha might have overdosed on drugs. A scrap of plastic recovered on a landing outside Natasha's bedroom contained traces of speed and cocaine. And there was a very small amount of the drugs in her nose. Forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht outlined a possible scenario:

“The cocaine and methamphetamine can lead to increased body temperature, hyperthermia. I think she probably took a bath to cool down, and she was then in the process of drying her hair when she collapsed, most likely in a spasm.”

Tammy Stelton rejected that theory:

“They said she was on a five-day drug and drink and sex party. And I was like, ‘Uh-uh. No.’ I just know my daughter. She wouldn't have used.”

During the autopsy, the medical examiner found no drug residue in Natasha's system.
According to Scott Burau, that does not rule out a drug overdose:

“If you snort cocaine on Monday, and you're deceased on Friday, and we do a toxicology test, we may find remnants of the drug, perhaps in the nose or maybe in an injection point, or something like that, but the actual toxicology of your blood and urine and whatnot may produce a zero amount.”

Today, the investigation has hit a dead end, leaving Tammy Stelton frustrated:

“All I wanted was answers, for somebody to talk to me and explain to me what's been going on with her, but nobody will. Nobody has.”

Scott Burau said his department is stumped:

“This girl was 16 years old. She had her entire life ahead of her, and we don't have any answers. We don't have the bottom line.”
Officially, the investigation into the death of Natasha Jennings is still open.

Sadie Natasha Jennings (1981 - 1997) - Find A Grave Memorial

Sadie Natasha Jennings (1981 - 1997) - Find A Grave Memorial: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Friday, October 29, 2010

"The boy in the box coffin video."



(If anybody know anything that would help solve this case please contact the philadelphia police depart.)

R.i.p little john doe of 1957

"America's unknown child."

"This is the boy in the box."

"This is the autopsy photo section."

"Side head shot"

"Full face shot."

"This is him from behind."

"hand shot."




"This is the jcpennys box that his body was found in."


"The Boy in the box coffin crime scene photo."

"Crime scene"

"The boy in the box coffin."

In 1957, Susquehanna Road was a narrow country lane in the sparsely settled Fox Chase section of northeast Philadelphia. It was approximately a half-mile in length, linking Pine Road on the west with Verree Road on the east. The southern side of Susquehanna Road was wooded at that time, but the tree cover did not extend beyond a few yards from the road in most places. It quickly gave way to extensive stretches of open field and scrub growth. This provided a perfect habitat for rabbits, muskrats, and other small game. There were no houses on Susquehanna Road itself, but the compound of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, a religious order which operated a school for "wayward girls", adjoined the road on the north. A driveway providing access to this large, multiple building facility was located about 500 yards west of the intersection of Susquehanna and Verree roads. Almost directly across the street from the entrance to the Good Shepherd School was a wooded area choked with thick underbrush that was often used by local residents as a place to dump refuse. It was here, at the junction of two well-worn footpaths, that the victim's body was twice discovered during the final week of February 1957.

The Victim:

An unidentified Caucasian male, probable age 4 to 6 years, whose nude body, wrapped in a cheap flannel blanket, was found lying face up inside a large cardboard carton just a few feet from the edge of Susquehanna Road . The body was dry and clean. The boy's arms were carefully folded across his stomach. The finger and toenails had been recently trimmed short and neat. The child was 40 1/2 inches tall and weighed 30 pounds. He had blue eyes, pale skin, and appeared malnourished. His hair was described as medium to light brown, or blond in color. It had been cut recently - very close to the head, in a crude, hurried way, perhaps as a deliberate attempt to conceal the child's identity. Small clumps of cut hair clung to his entire body, suggesting that someone had groomed him while he was unclothed, probably either shortly before or immediately after death.

There were many bruises all over the child's body; particularly on the head and face. All of the bruises appeared to have been inflicted at the same time. There were also seven scars on the body, three of which could have resulted from surgical procedures. Two of these "surgical" scars were on the chest and groin. They had healed quite well, leaving only a hair-line trace. There was also a scar on the boy's left ankle, which looked like a "cut-down" incision. Such an incision is made to expose a vein so that a needle may be inserted to give an infusion or transfusion. There was a 1 1/2 - inch scar on the left side of the chest, and a round, irregular scar on the left elbow. On the chin was an L-shaped scar - a quarter of an inch long in each direction. There was no vaccination scar. The boy had been circumcised.

There were three small moles on the left side of the face, a tiny one below the right ear, three small ones on the right side of the chest, and a large one on the right arm two inches above the wrist, in line with the little finger. The boy had a full set of baby teeth, and was also slightly buck-toothed. The tonsils had not been removed.

The palm of his right hand and the soles of both his small feet were rough-skinned and wrinkled in what police called a "washerwoman" effect, indicating that just before or after death the one hand and both feet had been submerged in water for an extended period of time.

When an ultraviolet light was shone on the boy's left eye it fluoresced a brilliant blue, suggesting that a special diagnostic dye had been applied, possibly to treat a chronic eye ailment.

Examination of the boy's gastrointestinal tract indicated that he had not eaten for two or three hours before his death.

X-rays of the boy's body showed no evidence of current or prior bone fractures.

The cool weather made it difficult to tell how long the child had been dead. It may have been two or three days, or possibly as long as two or three weeks.

Evidence (found at the scene):

A large cardboard carton, (15" x 19" x 35"), stamped "fragile". It had originally contained a baby's bassinet sold by the J.C. Penney Co. The bassinet, one of a dozen received on 11/27/56, and which retailed for $7.50, was sold between 12/03/56 and 02/16/57 by the J.C. Penney store at 100 S. 69th St., Upper Darby, PA, with the customer taking it away in its original carton. Since J.C. Penney had a "cash only" policy at that time, there were no store records indicating the identity of the purchaser. Never the less, all but one of the twelve bassinets, and the cartons they came in, were eventually accounted for. The cardboard carton that contained the boy's body was in good condition. It was dry inside, but damp on the outside, and appeared slightly weathered. The inside of the carton had traces of white coloring, indicating the bassinet was painted white. The carton was sent to the FBI lab for analysis, but no distinct fingerprints were found.

A faded blanket made of cheap cotton flannel. The blanket was clean, appearing to have been washed recently. It had a plaid design with diamonds and blocks in green, rust, brown, and white. The blanket had been mended with poor grade cotton thread, probably on a home sewing machine. It had also been cut in half. One half of the blanket measured 33 by 76 inches, while the other, from which a piece was missing, was 31 by 51 inches. The Medical Examiner's office took the blanket to the Philadelphia Textile Institute, for testing. It was determined that the blanket had been made either at the Beacon Mills, Swannanoa, N.C., or the Esmond Mills at Granby, Quebec, Canada. However, it was not possible to identify likely points of sale, since thousands of such blankets had been manufactured and shipped to dozens of wholesalers throughout the country.

A man's cap, of royal blue corduroy with a leather strap and buckle in the back. It was size seven and one-eighth, and contained tissue paper placed there by the manufacturer to maintain its shape. The cap was found about 17 feet from the thicket where the boy's body was discovered. A pathway through the underbrush led directly from the cap to the cardboard carton. The cap was sent to the FBI lab for analysis, but nothing of significance was found. Through the cap's label, detectives learned it was made by the Robbins Bald Eagle Hat & Cap Co., 2603 S. 7th St., Philadelphia. Police interviewed Mrs. Hannah Robbins, owner of the firm, who said the cap was one of 12 made from corduroy remnants some time before May, 1956. She told detectives the cap was made without a strap, but the man she sold it to just a few months earlier asked her to sew a strap on it. She said the man resembled the photograph of the dead child on a police circular. Mrs. Robbins told detectives the man was alone, wore working clothes, did not speak with a foreign accent, and had blond hair. He appeared to be in his late twenties.

Possible Evidence (found in the Fox Chase area):

A man's white handkerchief with some short strands of hair clinging to it. It had the initial G in one corner. The handkerchief was relatively clean considering its exposure to the elements. It was sent to the police chemical laboratory for a comparison of its hair with the hair of the dead boy. The results of the test were negative.

A tan, child-size scarf and a boy's yellow flannel shirt, size four. This is the size of the clothes that would have been worn by the dead boy.

A pair of black children's shoes, size 1, was found near the spot where the body was first observed. The shoes, cheap but in good repair, were regarded as possibly significant because they were clean, while the area near the death scene was muddy. One shoe was found on the same side of Susquehanna road as the body, about 50 feet north of it, the other 10 feet south on the opposite side. But when detectives tried them on the boy in the morgue, they were considerably too large (his shoe size was 8-D.)

A torn, stained piece of blanket and a dead cat wrapped in a man's gray sweater were found lying together in a depression in the ground about a quarter mile from where the boy's nude body was found. Lying on top of the cat and blanket was a piece of crumpled, sodden brown wrapping paper. The blanket fragment was similar in type and quality to the blanket that was found with the boy's body. However, subsequent analysis at the police laboratory revealed that it was not part of the same blanket. Chemical analysis of the other items also had negative results.

Evidence Obtained From The Victim's Body (1957):

During autopsy, blood and other body fluids, hair, gastric contents, and tissue samples from vital organs including the heart, liver, and lungs were extracted for toxicologic analysis and microscopic examination. A mysterious dark brown residue coating the interior of the boy's esophagus could not be identified, but the presence of a brown substance in the esophagus could be consistent with vomiting shortly before death (Note: see testimony of the Ohio informant, below.) No other unusual findings were noted.

Fingerprints and footprints were obtained for subsequent comparison against hospital birth records and other medical files. Despite an exhaustive search of hospitals in the region, no matching prints were ever found.

Numerous hair strands found clinging to the body were sent to the FBI lab for analysis. They proved to be the victim's own hair.

Evidence Obtained From The Victim's Body (1998):

DNA technology did not exist in 1957. Forty-one years later, after the long-dormant case was reactivated, the boy's remains were exhumed for the purpose of obtaining tissue samples for DNA analysis. Investigators hoped to compare the boy's nuclear DNA profile against the DNA profiles of current and future suspects & claimants. Unfortunately, by that time, the remains were far too degraded to permit extraction of viable nuclear DNA. However, after several failed attempts, tissue samples were sent to an independent DNA laboratory, which successfully extracted mitochondrial DNA from the boy's teeth. Although a mitochondrial DNA profile is a less useful forensic tool than a nuclear DNA profile in certain respects, it can never-the-less be used to confirm or rule out a genetic relationship through maternal lineage. The victim's mitochondrial DNA profile has already been used to rule out the possibility that he was Steven Damman, a missing New York boy who was kidnapped in 1955.

The Investigators - Then and Now:

America's Most Wanted - a popular television program hosted by John Walsh, which aired a segment about the "Boy in the Box" case on October 3,1998, in cooperation with the Philadelphia police department and the Vidocq Society (see below). The broadcast generated over 150 new "tips", and ultimately inspired a group of private citizens to create the America's Unknown Child web site.

Detective Tom Augustine, Philadelphia Police Department Homicide Division - the latest in a long line of investigators to handle the Boy in the Box case. Augustine first became interested in the Boy in the Box case in 1957 when, as an eleven-year-old boy, he saw the unknown boy's haunting image depicted on posters that were displayed throughout the Philadelphia area. At the time, the young Tom Augustine had no inkling that he would grow up to become a Philadelphia homicide detective and get the opportunity to investigate the mystery himself. Detective Augustine has been in charge of the Boy in the Box investigation since 1998.

Frank Bender, VSM, forensic sculptor - created a bust of how the boy's father may have looked. The bust is based on the facial features of the boy and drawn from Mr. Bender's decades of experience. Bender is the forensic sculptor behind the bust of John List - the infamous killer from New Jersey who took the lives of his entire family.

Remington Bristow, an investigator in the medical examiner's office - spent 36 years on the case, often following leads to distant parts of the country, mostly on his own time, and at his own expense. Solving the mystery became a personal, life-long obsession. Veteran investigators all agree that, but for Remington Bristow's personal crusade, the Boy in the Box case would have been completely abandoned and forgotten long ago. Bristow even tried investigating the case through the use of extrasensory perception (ESP). He elicited the help of an elderly New Jersey psychic named Florence Sternfeld. Her visions, supported by a considerable amount of circumstantial evidence, led him to suspect members of a certain foster family that lived near the place where the boy's body was found. Bristow went to his grave in 1993 believing he knew the answer to the mystery.

The FBI - was asked to help investigate the mystery of the murdered boy. All evidence gathered in the painstaking search for witnesses and clues was sent to the FBI's crime lab for testing. The FBI published a report of the case in its monthly bulletin, circulated throughout the country. In November 1998, the FBI's Philadelphia Division Evidence Recovery Team participated in the exhumation of the unknown boy's remains to obtain tissue samples for DNA testing.

William L. Fleisher, V.S.M.: Co-founder and Commissioner of the Vidocq Society (see below.) Bill is a former police officer, and FBI and Customs agent. Under his leadership and overall guidance, Vidocq Society investigators are aggressively pursuing the Boy in the Box mystery.

Thomas J. Gibbons, Philadelphia Police Commissioner - ordered the entire student complement of the Police Academy (270 police trainees) into a search for clues to the identity of the young boy. An exhaustive two-day search was conducted of a 12-square-mile area in the northeast part of the city, and extending beyond the city limits. Searchers were looking for anyone who might have known of a missing child about five years old, and for any trace of the clothing of the murdered boy. A total of 320 city police, detectives and Fairmount Park guards were thrown into the hunt.

John J. Kelly, Chief Inspector - Philadelphia Police Department (1957).

William H. Kelly, V.S.M., Supervisor of the Philadelphia Police Department Identification Unit - took aerial photographs of Susquehanna Road and its environs to aid in the investigation. For years, Mr. Kelly systematically toured area hospitals, checking the unknown boy's footprint against those in hospital nursery records. Thousands of prints were searched in Philadelphia, Delaware, Bucks and Montgomery counties, with negative results. Mr. Kelly and William McNasby of the crime lab also searched the files of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service on their own time. They checked 11,200 Passport photos on the theory that the unknown boy might have been an alien. Now retired, William Kelly is a co-director of the Vidocq Society's Boy in the Box investigation.

George R. Knowles: A private citizen, George is the founder and administrator of the America's Unknown Child website. His interest in the case dates back to 1957 when, as an 11-year-old New Jersey boy, he became intrigued by the original Boy in the Box poster. Since April 1999, George has been assisting the investigators by publicizing the case on the Internet and by gathering tips, theories, and other case-related information from the public.

Joseph Komarnicki: former head of the Philadelphia Detective Bureau's missing persons division - based on a hunch, he traveled to Thornton, Colorado in 1960 to question Mrs. Margaret Martinez, a 30-year-old woman who had admitted throwing her three-year-old daughter's body into a trash can. No connection to the "Boy in the Box" case could be established.

Dr. Wilton M. Krogman, professor of physical anthropology at the Graduate School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania - was called in by the Medical Examiner's office to study the dead boy's physical characteristics. Doctor Krogman found the boy to be forty inches tall: giving him a "height age" of about three years, eight months. But the boy's thirty-pound weight was equivalent to a "weight age" of only about two years and two months. This obviously suggested undernourishment, and the bones confirmed that. With x-rays Doctor Krogman discovered scars of arrested growth on the long bones of the legs. This, he reported to police, "may have been enough to have slowed him down six months to a year in his growth progress." Dr. Krogman estimated that the boy had been in chronic ill health - with accompanying malnutrition - for about a year. He described the boy as having "a long narrow head, a high narrow face, and a high narrow nose." That, to him, was enough to speculate on Northwest European ancestry - Scandinavia, West Germany, or England or Scotland.

Joseph McGillen, V.S.M., - an investigator with the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office since 1956. After his retirement, McGillen became a member of the Vidocq Society and participated in the investigation of the Boy in the Box case. He is now a co-director of that effort. McGillen was quick to recognize the potential of utilizing the Internet to help solve the case. To this end, he was instrumental in arranging a direct link between the Vidocq Society's home page and the America's Unknown Child web site. McGillen is aggressively pursuing other potential avenues for publicizing the case via this revolutionary communications medium.

Captain Joseph O'Neill, head of the Philadelphia homicide unit (1959).

Elmer Palmer - the first police officer to arrive at the scene when the boy's body was discovered. Deeply moved by that experience, Palmer has closely followed the progress of the case through the years and visits the boy's grave whenever he can.

Captain David H. Roberts, head of the Philadelphia homicide squad (1957).

Dr. Joseph W. Spelman, City medical examiner - he performed a two-hour autopsy on the slain boy, establishing that he had been violently murdered by multiple blows on the head. Dr. Spelman also launched a plan to check hospital records, in co-operation with Philadelphia General Hospital officials. Women volunteers examined all the PGH records for the years 1953 through 1955. The hospital medical records were examined for a record of an operation or treatment of an illness that the unknown boy may have had.

Vidocq Society: An international organization of crime-solving experts based in Philadelphia, which adopted the case early in 1998. The society is a private, non-profit group whose 82 members possess varied investigative expertise ranging from forensics to law. The Vidocq Society was instrumental in helping obtain a court order granting permission to exhume the boy's body for the purpose of extracting tissue for DNA testing. The boy was subsequently reburied at another location as "America's Unknown Child."

Sam Weinstein, VSM - the second policeman to arrive at the scene when the boy's body was found. Weinstein later became a detective and participated in the investigation of the Boy in the Box case. He retired after serving 35 years on the police force and became a member of the Vidocq Society. In 1998, Weinstein was appointed to head the society's Boy in the Box investigation. At first, Weinstein was working alone, but he was later joined by two other retired crime fighters: Joseph McGillen, formerly an investigator with the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's office, and William H. Kelly, former Supervisor of the police department's Identification Unit. In February 2000, Sam Weinstein was compelled to discontinue active involvement in the case due to medical reasons. He passed away on May 16, 2004.

Randolph E. Wise, City Welfare Commissioner - his department conducted a direct check to account for 64 normal children in foster homes, and about 400 mentally retarded children. All children in foster homes were accounted for. The possibility of the boy having been in some institution was also eliminated.

Suspects, Informants, False Leads, and Dead Ends:

Frederick J. Benonis - a 26-year-old student at LaSalle College. He called police shortly after 10:00 a.m. on the morning of February 26, 1957, and informed them that he had discovered the body of a small child the previous day. Benonis said he was driving along Susquehanna road west of Verree road on Monday afternoon at around 3:15 p.m., when he saw a rabbit jump into the underbrush. He said that he stopped to chase it. While out of the car, Benonis saw some muskrat traps and then came upon a large cardboard box. He looked inside, and saw what he thought could possibly be a doll, or the body of a small child. Benonis decided not to report the incident. (Police subsequently learned that Benonis was in the habit of visiting Susquehanna Road to spy on the young women at the Good Shepherd School for Wayward Girls. This may explain his initial reluctance to reveal the discovery to authorities.) However, by the next morning, Benonis had second thoughts about keeping silent, especially after hearing a radio news report about a missing New Jersey child. Benonis confided in two LaSalle College faculty priests, who advised him to notify authorities immediately. Benonis was questioned extensively by detectives at Philadelphia police department headquarters. He also voluntarily submitted to a lie detector test, the results of which cleared him of any suspicion.

George Broomall, Marine Private First Class - told police that he believed the unknown boy might be his eight-year-old brother. He renewed the belief after viewing the body in the morgue. Broomall, who had recently returned from overseas, said he was one of 18 children. He last saw his family when they lived in Philadelphia. At that time, he said, the family was about to move to the West Coast, but two of the younger children were left with an older brother who lived in the northeast section of the city. Detectives eventually found the "missing" brother, alive and well in California.

Steven Craig Damman - The son of an airman stationed at Mitchel Air Force Base, N.Y., who was kidnapped outside a Long Island supermarket, October 31, 1955, when he was 34 months old. At the time of Steven's disappearance he was described as 38 inches tall, weighing 32 pounds and having blond hair. Since the unknown boy appeared to be about the age the Damman boy would have been if he were still alive, and because of some similarities of description, investigators thought that it was possible they could be the same person. They sent copies of the dead boy's footprints to the Nassau County, NY police department. They also X-rayed his body at Philadelphia General Hospital in a search for certain physical characteristics known to be possessed by the Damman boy when he disappeared. However, comparison of the dead boy's footprints with those of the missing Damman boy taken at his birth and the X-ray findings cast great doubt on whether they were the same person. The X-rays failed to reveal a healed fracture of the left arm, which the Damman child had. Also, a large freckle on the back of the right calf of the Damman boy did not exist on the body of the murdered boy. A comparison of the footprints did not indicate any similarity and a picture of the dead boy's face bore no resemblance to the missing Damman child. To clinch the matter, the autopsy conducted by Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Joseph W. Spelman had shown that the dead boy had normal kidneys. The Damman boy, his parents said, had been under treatment for a kidney growth at the time of his kidnapping. Two visiting Nassau County police officers said they were satisfied after viewing the body and conferring with Philadelphia investigators that the murdered boy was not the missing Damman child.

In 2003, investigators re-examined the still-unsolved Steven Damman case in order to determine if every potential link to the Boy in the Box case had been thoroughly explored. They found that nothing had been overlooked by the original investigators. Also, with the cooperation of the Nassau County police department and other law enforcement agencies, the sister of Steven Damman was located. She submitted a DNA sample for comparison with the DNA profile of "America's Unknown Child." Analysis of her DNA sample proved conclusively that the unknown boy discovered in Philadelphia was not Steven Damman.

Kenneth E. and Irene Adelle Dudley - itinerant carnival workers, who were arrested and jailed in Lawrenceville, VA in 1961 for causing the death of their seven-year-old daughter through malnutrition, exposure and neglect. Under intense questioning, the Dudleys admitted that they had permitted six of their 10 children to die of malnutrition and neglect, disposing the bodies in various places in several southern states. Two of the bodies were tossed into a lake, and another was dumped at an abandoned phosphate mine. Detectives conducted a thorough investigation of the Dudleys and eventually disproved any possible connection to the Boy in the Box case.

Florida Claimants: In early 2004, Detective Tom Augustine was contacted by people in Florida who claimed that their mother was the unknown boy's birth parent. They submitted DNA samples for testing at their own expense. The DNA samples were analyzed, but they didn't match. When Detective Augustine informed them of this, the people in Florida insisted that the DNA lab must have made a mistake because they were absolutely certain that their mother was the boy's birth parent! Subsequently, they submitted a sample of their mother's DNA for analysis, again at their own expense. The mother's DNA sample also failed to match the unknown boy's DNA profile.

Foster Family - operated a foster home in a large stone house on Moredon Road, about 1.5 miles from where the boy's body was discovered. The family consisted of a middle-aged couple, Arthur and Catherine Nicoletti, and a 20-year-old female, Anna Marie Nagle, who was Catherine's daughter by a previous marriage. There was hearsay evidence that Anna Marie was retarded or at least "mentally challenged." She had previously given birth to four children out of wedlock. Three of the children were stillborn, while the fourth child, a boy, was tragically electrocuted in 1955 at the age of three in a department store amusement ride accident. The Nicoletti family took boys and girls from the state and city for a few weeks to a few years. They usually cared for five or six kids at a time, but sometimes as many as 25 were in residence. There were eight foster children living there at the time of the unknown boy's discovery (five girls and three boys.) All of the foster children were checked out by detectives and accounted for. The police did not suspect the foster family of having anything to do with the Boy in the Box case.

In 1960, Remington Bristow, an investigator in the medical examiner's office who was conducting his own inquiry into the Boy in the Box mystery, began to focus his attention on the foster home. He hadn't been making much progress up to that point, so in desperation, he turned to an elderly New Jersey psychic named Florence Sternfeld for help. Florence claimed that she could identify a person by holding a piece of metal that in some way was connected to him. Bristow went to see Florence at her home in Palisades Park, NJ, and took with him two staples from the J.C. Penney box the unknown boy was found in. Florence told Bristow to look for a large house with a wooden railing and a log cabin on the property that had children playing in it. Bristow spent months searching around the Fox Chase area for a large house that fit the psychic's description, and eventually found the foster home. There was a log cabin behind it. Bristow learned that the foster children slept on cots in the log cabin in the summer. Bristow then brought Florence to Philadelphia (she claimed to have never been there before), and took her to the discovery site on Susquehanna Road. She led him directly from there to the foster home. This impressive performance convinced Bristow that he was definitely on the right track. In 1961, the Nicoletti family got out of the foster care business and moved away. The home was closed and put up for sale. Bristow went to a preview of an auction of its furnishings and spotted a bassinet similar to the one sold by J.C. Penney. It was covered with dust, sitting in the basement. Outside, he found plaid blankets hanging on a clothesline. The blankets had been cut in half to fit the metal cots the children had slept on. There was also a duck pond on the property. Bristow theorized that this could have been the place where the boy's hand and foot had lain in water. Bristow said he always believed that the stone house was linked to the case because of what he found there. For years, Bristow tried repeatedly to persuade the Philadelphia police to re-investigate the foster family, but they refused. Finally, in 1984, two homicide detectives reluctantly agreed to interview Arthur Nicoletti at his home in Dublin, Bucks County, PA. The interview failed to turn up anything incriminating. Frustrated by this, Bristow telephoned Arthur Nicoletti and urged him to take a lie detector test. Nicoletti declined to do so. To Bristow, the man's lack of cooperation indicated that he probably had something to hide. Bristow was firmly convinced that the Nicoletti family had somehow been involved in the strange death of the Boy in the Box. He theorized that the boy may have actually been the illegitimate son of Anna Marie Nagle. His suspicions were reinforced some years later when Arthur Nicoletti, then a widower, married his stepdaughter. In 1988, after going through old police reports, Bristow realized that a doctor who had treated the children at the foster home had never been interviewed. Bristow hoped that the unknown boy's medical records would be among the doctor's files. He located the doctor's wife, who told him that she'd destroyed the records about five years earler, after her husband died. Until his own death in 1993, Bristow never wavered in his belief that the foster family had been involved in the unknown boy's demise. However, in the end, Bristow couldn't come up with any hard evidence to prove his theories.

When the Boy in the Box case was reopened early in 1998, Philadelphia Police Captain, Pat Dempsey, asked Homicide Detective Tom Augustine to follow up on the foster home angle where Remington Bristow left off in 1984. Detective Augustine, accompanied by a member of the Bucks County police department, interviewed Arthur Nicoletti and Anna Marie (now husband and wife) at their home on February 23, 1998. During the course of that interview, Detective Augustine was able to obtain the answers to many crucial questions about members of the foster family. In general, the interview tended to confirm that the foster family had no involvement in the unknown boy's death. Only a few months after the interview, Arthur Nicoletti died. Anna Marie was subsequently placed in a nursing home.

Shortly after the America's Most Wanted TV broadcast of October 3, 1998, seven persons who had watched the program and participated in the AMW Forum, decided to form an Internet chat group to discuss the Boy in the Box case. One member of that chat group was a woman postal worker from Virginia. She had been raised in the Philadelphia area during the 1950's and 60's, and said that she vividly recalled the original Boy in the Box investigation; particularly the flyers, which were posted everywhere. In early November, the woman began telling the other chat group members about a friend of hers named "Dianne", who had allegedly lived in the same neighborhood as the foster family and knew a lot about them, possibly even "incriminating stuff". "Dianne" had attended grammar school with two of the foster girls, she said. The woman stated that the foster family definitely had several relatives on the Philadelphia police force, and that they may have engineered a cover-up of the "Boy in the Box" case. This information was relayed to the Vidocq Society by George Knowles, the group's Vidocq liaison, and was brought to the attention of Vidocq Society Commissioner, William Fleisher. Fleisher requested that the woman contact him via telephone as soon as possible. After some initial reluctance, the woman called Fleisher, but declined to put him in touch with her friend, "Dianne." She told Fleisher that "Dianne's" abusive husband hated the police and wouldn't allow her to speak directly to anyone in law enforcement. The woman proposed that Fleisher funnel all of his questions through her, and she would act as an "intermediary" between "Dianne" and the Vidocq Society. Fleisher reluctantly agreed to this unusual arrangement initially, but in subsequent phone conversations, he insisted that he had to speak with "Dianne" directly about her knowledge of the foster family. The woman stalled Fleisher for awhile by announcing that "Dianne" was temporarily unavailable because she and her husband had left town for a two-week vacation in Florida. At the end of two weeks, Fleisher contacted the woman again and repeated his request to be put directly in touch with "Dianne." This time the woman told him that "Dianne's" husband had suffered a mild stroke in Florida, and needed time to recuperate! "Dianne" wouldn't be able to return to Philadelphia until the spring, she said. This weird "cat and mouse game" continued for a few more weeks, until the woman suddenly announced that "Dianne's" husband had suffered a second stroke and probably didn't have long to live! Therefore "Dianne" had decided to sell her home in Pennsylvania and remain in Florida permanently. Consequently, Bill Fleisher would never have the opportunity to speak with "Dianne" about the foster family. Of course, by this time, everyone was already convinced that "Dianne" didn't really exist. In all probability, she was an imaginary character that the woman had invented just to get attention. Eventually, the woman was expelled from the chat group.

In May 2001, the CBS television program "48 Hours" broadcast a brief segment about the Boy in the Box investigation. The segment featured clips from home movies that were taken at the foster home in the 1950's. A man who had spent his summers at the foster home during that period, saw the program and recognized himself in one of the film clips. He contacted the America's Unknown Child website and offered to tell what he knew about the foster family. The man was immediately put in touch with the investigators, but he could provide little information that wasn't already known.

Horsham Suspects - a mass night raid on a farm near Horsham, PA in September 1957 netted four persons who were questioned about the murder of the unidentified boy. Carried out by State, Montgomery county and Philadelphia police, the raid was made as a result of confidential information given to the Montgomery County District Attorney by an unidentified woman. The exact location of the farm and the identities of the six persons living there were not disclosed. After questioning, all of the suspects were released.

Hungarian Refugee: In 1965, Bill Kelly decided to investigate the possibility that the unknown boy may have been a recent immigrant. If true, that would explain why he had no hospital birth record or footprints on file. Going through old newspapers, Kelly came across a 1956 article about the tide of Hungarian refugees that arrived in this country following the failed uprising of October 1956. In the accompanying photo, there was a little boy who looked exactly like the Boy in the Box. His approximate age, coloring, facial expression, and build were the same. With the assistance of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Kelly sifted through 11,200 passport photos before finding the Hungarian boy's picture, and then locating his family in North Carolina. State troopers found the family at home, the boy playing safely in the yard.

Mrs. Margaret Martinez of Thornton, CO - arrested in 1960 after she admitted throwing her three-year-old daughter's body into a trash can. Mrs. Martinez matched the description of a woman seen standing next to a parked car near the spot where the boy's body was found in Fox Chase. She was questioned by Joseph Komarnicki, former head of the Philadelphia Detective Bureau's missing persons division, but no connection to the Boy in the Box case could be established.

Missing Rhode Island Boy - The initial search for clues spread to Barrington, Rhode Island, where police learned a young mother and her six-year-old son had been reported missing since they left, ostensibly for Florida, on Feb. 19, 1957. Twenty-five prints of the dead boy's foot were sent to the Barrington police to be checked against those of the missing youngster there, along with a picture of the slain boy. The mother of the Barrington boy was estranged from her husband. Her son, though a blond and of about the same height as the dead boy, apparently was at least 10 pounds heavier. This potential lead turned out to be a dead end.

New York City Homicide Victim - Certain similarities between the Boy in the Box case and the mysterious homicide of a 5-year-old girl found in a New York City park in August 1957 prompted the Philadelphia and New York City police departments to launch a cooperative investigation to determine if both children could have been victimized by the same person. A link between the two crimes was never found.

Ohio Informant - In February 2002, a business woman from Cincinnati, Ohio (hereinafter referred to as "M") contacted investigators through her psychiatrist. "M" claimed that her abusive mother purchased the unknown boy from his birth parents in the summer of 1954, subjected him to extreme physical and sexual abuse for two and a half years, and then killed him in a fit of rage, by slamming him to the floor after he vomited in the bathtub. (Allegedly, the boy had eaten baked beans just a few minutes earlier.) "M" had originally recounted the story to her psychiatrist in 1989 but declined to come forward and speak with law enforcement officials until thirteen years later.

In May 2002, Philadelphia detective Tom Augustine, accompanied by Vidocq Society investigators, Joseph McGillen and William Kelly, traveled to Cincinnati and interviewed the woman at her psychiatrist's office for three hours. "M" told them that she had lived in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania (a well-to-do suburb of Philadelphia) in the 1950's. Her parents were both employed by the Lower Merion school district. Her mother was a librarian and her father was a science teacher. "M" told the investigators that the unknown boy's name was "Jonathan". She said that "Jonathan" was very frail, mentally handicapped, and could not speak. In August 1954, when she was 10, "M" told the investigators, her mother drove her to a home, where she picked the boy up in exchange for an envelope which she assumed contained money. "M" claimed that her mother regularly sexually abused her and purchased "Jonathan" so that she could sexually abuse him, as well.

For two and a half years, "Jonathan" was raised in squalor in the basement of the Lower Merion home. He slept in an empty refrigerator box amid dusty coal bins and used a floor drain as his toilet. "Jonathan" was never allowed to go outside or even be seen by visitors to the home.

According to "M", after her mother killed "Jonathan" in February 1957, she cut his long hair to conceal his identity. "M" trimmed the boy's nails. Then they wrapped the boy's nude body in an old blanket, placed it in the trunk of their car, and drove into Philadelphia, looking for a suitable place to dump the body. "M" said that they eventually arrived at Susquehanna Road, a narrow, secluded country lane in the sparsely-settled Fox Chase section of northern Philadelphia. It was ideally suited for their purpose. "M" recalled that, as she and her mother were preparing to remove the boy's body from the trunk, a male driver unexpectedly stopped and asked them if they were having car trouble. They quickly turned their backs to the man, and said nothing. They were careful to block the man's view of the license plate on their car. After a few anxious moments that must have seemed like an eternity, the man continued on his way. ("M's" account almost exactly matched the confidential testimony of the anonymous male witness who had originally reported this incident to the police in 1957.) After the man drove away, "M" and her mother removed the boy's body from the trunk and placed it in a large cardboard box that they found at the scene. What role, if any, "M's" father may have played in the whole macabre episode has not been revealed by the investigators.

The investigators were impressed by "M's" testimony, which seemed quite plausible, but they remained skeptical. At issue was whether "M", who has a history of mental problems, could have fabricated the entire story. After the investigative team returned to Philadelphia, the Philadelphia police department, the Vidocq Society, and the Montgomery County District Attorney's office launched an intensive follow-up investigation in order to verify "M's" account of the unknown boy's death. Unfortunately, six months later, having left "no stone unturned" in their relentless search for corroborating evidence, the investigators came up empty. Not a single one of "M's" allegations could be substantiated. Also, a search for trace evidence in the basement of the Lower Merion home where the boy allegedly resided turned up nothing. The investigators are still pursuing other clues in this phase of the Boy in the Box investigation.

Private Edward J. Posivak of Philadelphia, PA - detained and questioned in Nashville, TN regarding the mysterious disappearance of a young married woman whom he had been dating. In a car Posivak was driving, police found a clipping about the unidentified boy found in the Fox Chase area of Philadelphia. Posivak denied any involvement in the boy's death. He agreed to submit to a lie detector test. The results of the test were entirely negative, confirming Posivak's assertion that his relatives sent him news clippings as matters of general interest. Extensive questioning convinced detectives that Posivak was probably nowhere near Philadelphia at the time the boy was found dead.

John Powroznik - an 18-year-old youth who told police that he had discovered the body of the murdered boy in Fox Chase on the weekend of February 22-23, 1957, but was afraid to tell anyone about it. John Powroznik's home was located on Pine road near Susquehanna road, a short distance from the spot where police found the boy's body. Powroznik told detectives that on either Saturday, February 23, or Sunday, February 24, he sighted the box, with the body, while returning home from a basketball game. Powroznik was not sure of the day but said it was drizzling at the time (the Weather Bureau reported a light rain about 1 P.M. on Saturday.) Powroznik was so horrified and frightened by what he had seen that he ran home and said nothing about it to his parents. Powroznik claimed ownership of a number of muskrat traps in the vicinity.

Harold Sanders, of Dover, DE - reported that his wife and three children were missing. He said that he had a son, John, who was fair, thin, and about the age of the child found battered to death in Fox Chase. Mr. Sanders' wife and children were subsequently located - alive and well. The investigators learned that Mrs. Sanders had not really been "missing" after all, but had simply left her husband and taken the children with her.

Max Schellinger, a Philadelphia barber - told police he was "almost positive" that he had cut the unknown boy's hair only one week before the body was found. He said that the boy told him he had five brothers and one sister, and lived in the Strawberry Mansion section of the city near the Schuylkill River. Two detectives accompanied Schellinger on a house to house canvas of the area looking for possible witnesses who could corroborate the barber's story or provide additional information about the boy and his family. The search proved fruitless.

Terry Lee Speece - The dead boy was identified by six persons as Terry Lee Speece, eight, who had been living with his father, an itinerant roofer and laborer, in Camden, NJ for the six weeks preceding February 23, 1957. Police issued a 13 state alarm, requesting that the boy's father, Charles D. Speece, be detained for questioning. Speece's estranged wife, who had not seen the boy for a year, took a look at the dead boy in the morgue, and said he was not her son. The boy's maternal grandparents also viewed the body of the dead boy, and said they could not positively identify him as their grandson. Weeks later, Terry Lee Speece was found by state police in Ardmore, PA, living with his father. The father said he wasn't aware police had been looking for him.

Mrs. Cora Thompson of Tulsa, OK - telephoned Philadelphia detectives and said she thought the boy found beaten to death in Philadelphia might be her son who had been missing for two years. Pictures of the dead boy were sent to Tulsa police so that the woman could check them, but nothing came of it.

Unidentified Bus Passenger - In March 1957, a woman amateur artist identified the body in the morgue as the same boy she had seen sleeping in a man's arms on a bus running from Philadelphia to southern New Jersey. The pair had boarded the bus in Camden, she said. The woman submitted a sketch she'd made of the man, but the investigators weren't able to verify her story.

Unidentified Caller: In May 1999, an anonymous caller informed the Philadelphia police department about a woman who had lived only a few miles from the crime scene in early 1957. Allegedly, the woman had a little boy who was "about the same age" as the unknown Boy in the Box. According to the anonymous caller, shortly before the unknown boy's body was discovered, both the woman and her son mysteriously disappeared! The caller identified the missing woman by name, and said that she was "almost certain" that the woman had been the mother of the unknown boy. Detective Tom Augustine followed up on the anonymous tip, but he soon discovered that this information was not new. The story about the missing woman and her young son had originally been reported to the local police in 1957. They had checked out the story, and verified that the woman and her son had merely moved away. There was no connection between them and the Boy in the Box case. Augustine also discovered that the "missing" woman's son had subsequently died of injuries that he received in an automobile accident at the age of 21.

Unidentified Informant #1 - A tip was called in by a man who said he knew how to obtain a pre-mortem photograph of the unknown boy sitting on an Indian blanket. Detective Sam Weinstein received authorization from his commander to purchase the photo. The boy in the photo looked like the dead boy, and the blanket looked like the blanket found in the box. But after further investigation, Weinstein discovered that the boy in the photo was still alive and obviously not the one found in Fox Chase.

Unidentified Informant #2 - In 1982, the police got a call from someone who said they had new information on the case. The information turned out to be correct, but it concerned a different child - not the Boy in the Box. Police learned that the child, who had been sent to live in a Bucks County foster home in 1957, was still alive.

Unidentified Delaware Informant - In March 1957, a waitress in Wilmington, Delaware identified the child from a circular as one she had seen several months before walking past the place where she worked, hand in hand with a man who was talking about catching a train for Philadelphia. The woman's testimony could not be corroborated.

Unidentified Illinois Informant - In late 1998, investigators learned that in 1958, an Illinois woman who'd read about the Philadelphia mystery in The Saturday Evening Post told FBI agents that she knew the boy's mother - a "loose" woman who traveled a lot. Once the original report was located, Vidocq Society Commissioner William Fleisher tracked down a female member of the family by phone, who indicated that the boy he was asking about was now a man and very much alive.

Unidentified Michigan Informant - In September 2000, a Michigan woman notified police that she believed a young boy who moved into her Detroit neighborhood in the mid-1950's could have been the Boy in the Box. She said that he was a shy, withdrawn child, and he was thoroughly disliked and mistreated by his drunkard stepfather. In late 1956 or early 1957, the boy tried to cut his own hair and made a mess of it. This infuriated his stepfather. Shortly thereafter, the boy and his family departed on a two-week trip to Kentucky to visit relatives. When the parents returned to Detroit, the boy wasn't with them. The stepfather alleged that the boy had been "adopted" by a Tennessee doctor. Although the informant didn't accept the stepfather's explanation, she never reported the boy's mysterious disappearance to authorities.

The Michigan woman's tip was relayed to the Boy in the Box investigators in Philadelphia. Her story was exhaustively investigated but no connection to the Boy in the Box case could be found. The boy's two younger half-sisters were located and interviewed. One of the half-sisters said that she had always been told that her half-brother had been adopted by folks in Tennessee, but she knew nothing more than that. Another person who was interviewed said that he had been told that the boy had tracked down and visited his stepfather in the 1960's. He was allegedly wearing an Air Force uniform at that time. Photographs of the boy were sent to the investigators, but they determined that the Michigan boy bore no resemblance to "America's Unknown Child." Ultimately, the investigators decided to discontinue active pursuit of the Michigan lead because, in their collective judgment, the investigation had reached a dead end.

Unidentified Motorist - Shortly after the unknown boy's body was discovered, a man told police of a strange incident he witnessed about 200 feet from the spot where the boy's body was found, on Sunday, February 24, 1957. The witness said that he was driving along Verree road when he spotted a car that was stopped on the side of Susquehanna road with a woman and a boy standing by the car trunk. The woman appeared to be "groping" for something in the trunk. The woman, the witness said, was between 40 and 50, of medium height and heavyset, wearing a checked winter cloth coat. Her boy companion appeared to be between 12 and 14, and was of about the same height as the woman. The witness said he turned onto Susquehanna road and slowed his own car, thinking the woman had a flat tire, and asked if he could be of any assistance. He said that both the woman and boy turned their backs to him and remained absolutely mute. They seemed to be trying to conceal the license plate of their car from him. The man thought this was strange but decided they didn't want him interfering with whatever they were doing, so he drove off.

Unidentified New Jersey Informant - In March 1957, the woman night manager of a restaurant in Camden, N.J., directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, called to say she had seen the murder victim in the restaurant on two occasions in February. She said that the boy was accompanied by a man of about 40 . . . red-faced, sloppily dressed. The little boy said he wanted to talk to his 'Mommy' on the telephone, so the man placed a long distance call to Baltimore. Investigators could find no other witnesses who saw the unidentified man and boy at the Camden restaurant, and a check of telephone records disclosed that there had been no long distance calls to Baltimore made during the period mentioned by the woman in her report to police. The lead was eventually dismissed as unsubstantiated and unverifiable.

Unidentified New Jersey Man - On March 1, 1957, a Merchantville, New Jersey man was brought to City Hall for questioning about the slaying after he made five telephone calls to Sgt. John McBride of the Homicide Squad, saying he "knew about the case." The man told detectives he "had visions of killing the boy" and of being implicated in the murder. The man, father of five children, was released after it was discovered he had been a psychiatric patient at the Naval Hospital.

Unidentified Pennsylvania Couple - In March 1957, a Manayunk, PA couple told detectives they thought the boy might be their 6-year-old son, whom they had last seen seven months earlier when he was placed in an orphanage by the Municipal Court. The mother said the boy "looks like him" and the father said he wasn't "too sure." A team of detectives later found the boy in a private orphanage in West Philadelphia.

Unidentified Pennsylvania Informant #1 - In December 1999, a Bucks County, PA man contacted the America's Unknown Child web site and the Vidocq Society. He declared that his family might be able to shed some light on the Boy in the Box case. The man said that he had been born and raised in Philadelphia. He recalled that his parents briefly rented a house in the Oxford Circle section of the city to an out-of-town family in 1956/57. Throughout their nine-month residency, the tenant family remained very secretive and aloof, and little was known about them. Allegedly, most of the neighbors didn't even know how many people actually lived in the house! At about the time the unknown boy's body was discovered, the tenant family moved away quite suddenly, perhaps in the middle of the night. The family departed in such a hurry that they left breakfast dishes and food on the kitchen table! Judging by some articles of clothing and other personal items that were left behind, it was evident that a young boy had lived in the house. The man's mother allegedly reported this incident to the Philadelphia police in March, 1957 but never received any feedback. In late December, the man and his sister personally met with Sam Weinstein and Bill Kelly of the Vidocq Society and discussed the details of this intriguing story.

In August 2000, while searching through the original case files, Vidocq Society investigators, Bill Kelly and Joseph McGillen, discovered an index card confirming that in March, 1957 the lead about the hasty overnight departure of a mysterious tenant family in the Oxford Circle area had been provided to the Philadelphia police. The card also bore the name of a female neighbor whom police had interviewed after getting that tip. The neighbor had babysat for the tenant family during the short time they lived in the neighborhood. She testified that there was a young boy in that family, but he was only 2-1/2 years old at the time (rather than the unknown boy's estimated age of 4 or 5), and that he bore no resemblance to the unknown boy in the box. There was a reference number on the index card to a page number in one of the master books containing the actual interview with the neighbor, but the Vidocq investigators were unable to locate the specific report. However, the brief information on the index card provided sufficient evidence that the lead was checked out in 1957 and found to be of no value in the case.

Unidentified Pennsylvania Informant #2 - In 2004, the investigators received a tip via the Internet about a large family of poor tenant farmers who lived in Bustleton, not far from the Fox Chase site where the unknown boy's body was discovered. The tenant farmers allegedly moved away quite suddenly in early 1957. The youngest child in the family was said to be about the same age as the Boy in the Box. Preliminary investigation revealed that the family had, in fact, moved to Virginia suddenly in 1957, but none of the children died during childhood. The eldest child was contacted and he agreed to submit a DNA sample for analysis. His DNA did not match the unknown boy’s DNA profile.

Leads Generated By the America's Most Wanted TV Broadcast of October 3, 1998:

In response to the special Boy in the Box segment shown on the America's Most Wanted program of October 3, 1998. approximately 150 tips were called into America's Most Wanted's toll-free hotline, and at least another eight tips were received by Philadelphia Homicide. Several tips originated from Philadelphia or its outlying areas, such as southern New Jersey and upstate Pennsylvania. Others came in from as far away as Southern California, Wyoming, British Columbia, Newfoundland, Maine, New York, Virginia, Alabama, Missouri and Indiana. Most of the calls were anonymous, without even a phone number to follow up on. Many callers simply had questions or offered theories about the case, and a few calls came from psychics and other people who had vague "dreams" or "visions." A small percentage of the respondents had "leads" or "tips" which warranted follow-up investigation, although in the end, none of them panned out. Here are four examples:

Modesto, California Lead - A woman reported that a man her aunt married many years ago fled Philadelphia under suspicious circumstances. Local authorities interviewed the woman at Detective Tom Augustine's request, and sent back a photograph of a boy that "could have been the unknown boy's half-brother." This lead eventually turned out to be a dead end.

Brazil, Indiana Lead - A young boy disappeared when a carnival came to town and was never seen again. This occurred less than a year before the Boy in the Box was discovered. Detective Tom Augustine contacted local law enforcement officials to learn more. Result: there was no connection between this incident and the Boy in the Box case.

Atlantic City, New Jersey lead - A woman described a news clipping she'd saved, about a missing Vineland, NJ, boy, who simply had to be the boy she saw on AMW. Detective Augustine called the newspaper, which dug the article out of its archives and faxed him a copy. He was happy to have been saved a trip to Atlantic City when he learned that the Vineland boy had gone missing five years after the Boy in the Box was found.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Lead - A man showed up at Philadelphia Homicide and reported that his half-brother, 14 months older than himself, had mysteriously disappeared around the time that the unknown boy's body was discovered. He said it was a secret among the family for years. He also said that forensic sculptor Frank Bender's hypothetical bust of the unknown boy's father looked exactly like his own deceased father. Detective Augustine tried to track down other relatives who might have been able to add to the man's story. Eventual result: another dead end.

2008 book updates case activity:

An update until 2008 can be found in David Stout's new book, "The Boy in the Box", ISBN 978-1-59921-269-2.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

JonBenet Ramsey Case Reopened: New Interviews

"The demise of a porcelain doll: Jonbenet Ramsey story."

JonBenét Ramsey - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "JonBenét Patricia Ramsey (August 6, 1990 – December 25, 1996) was an American child whose murder at age 6 attracted extensive media coverage. Such coverage often focused on her participation in child beauty pageants, her parents' affluence and various unusual aspects of the case as well as questions regarding police handling of the case. She was found dead in the basement of her parents' home in Boulder, Colorado, nearly eight hours after she was reported missing. The case is notable for both its longevity and the media interest it has generated. After several grand jury hearings, the case is still unsolved. In February 2009, the Boulder Police Department took the case back from the district attorney and re-opened the investigation.[1]

* 1 Life
* 2 Murder case
o 2.1 Police investigation
o 2.2 Crime scene
o 2.3 Later developments
+ 2.3.1 Letter from District Attorney-Ramsey family exonerated
+ 2.3.2 New District Attorney
* 3 Suspicion
* 4 Defamation lawsuits
* 5 References
* 6 External links

[edit] Life

JonBenét Ramsey was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but the family relocated when she was nine months old. Her first name is a portmanteau of her father's first and middle names, John Bennett; her middle name is the first name of her mother, the late Patricia 'Patsy' Ramsey. JonBenét was enrolled by her mother in a variety of different beauty pageants in several states. Patricia Ramsey funded some of the contests in which JonBenét participated, as well as rock climbing and violin lessons. Her active role in pageants was highly scrutinized by media following the murder.

JonBenét is buried in Saint James Episcopal Cemetery in Marietta, Georgia, next to her mother, who died of cancer in 2006, and her half-sister Elizabeth Pasch Ramsey, who died in a 1992 car accident at the age of 22.
[edit] Murder case
Text of the ransom note

Mr. Ramsey

Listen carefully! We are a group of individuals that represent a small foreign faction. We do respect your bussiness [sic] but not the country that it serves. At this time we have your daughter in our posession [sic]. She is safe and unharmed and if you want her to see 1997, you must follow our instructions to the letter.

You will withdraw $118,000.00 from your account. $100,000 will be in $100 bills and the remaining $18,000 in $20 bills. Make sure that you bring an adequate size attache to the bank. When you get home you will put the money in a brown paper bag. I will call you between 8 and 10 am tomorrow to instruct you on delivery. The delivery will be exhausting so I advise you to be rested. If we monitor you getting the money early, we might call you early to arrange an earlier delivery of the money and hence a [sic] earlier delivery pick-up of your daughter.

Any deviation of my instructions will result in the immediate execution of your daughter. You will also be denied her remains for proper burial. The two gentlemen watching over your daughter do not particularly like you so I advise you not to provoke them. Speaking to anyone about your situation, such as Police, F.B.I., etc., will result in your daughter being beheaded. If we catch you talking to a stray dog, she dies. If you alert bank authorities, she dies. If the money is in any way marked or tampered with, she dies. You will be scanned for electronic devices and if any are found, she dies. You can try to deceive us but be warned that we are familiar with law enforcement countermeasures and tactics. You stand a 99% chance of killing your daughter if you try to out smart [sic] us. Follow our instructions and you stand a 100% chance of getting her back. You and your family are under constant scrutiny as well as the authorities. Don't try to grow a brain John. You are not the only fat cat around so don't think that killing will be difficult. Don't underestimate us John. Use that good southern common sense of yours. It is up to you now John!


Original text

According to the testimony of Patsy Ramsey, on December 26, 1996, she discovered her daughter was missing after finding on the kitchen staircase a two-and-a-half-page ransom note demanding $118,000 for her safe return—almost the exact value of a bonus her husband had received earlier that year.[1] Despite specific instructions in the ransom note that police and friends not be contacted, she telephoned the police and called family and friends. The local police conducted a cursory search of the house but did not find any obvious signs of a break-in or forced entry. The note suggested that the ransom collection would be monitored and JonBenét would be returned as soon as the money was obtained. John Ramsey made arrangements for the availability of the ransom, which a friend, John Fernie, picked up that morning from a local bank.
[edit] Police investigation

In the afternoon of the same day, Boulder Police Detective Linda Arndt asked Fleet White, a friend of the Ramseys, to take John Ramsey and search the house for 'anything unusual.'[2] John Ramsey and two of his friends started their search in the basement. After first searching the bathroom and 'train room', the two went to a 'wine cellar' room where Ramsey found his daughter's body covered in a white blanket. She was also found with a nylon cord around her neck, her wrists tied above her head, and duct tape covering her mouth.[2]

The police were later claimed by observers to have made several critical mistakes in the investigation, such as not sealing off the crime scene and allowing friends and family in and out of the house once a kidnapping was reported.[2]

Critics of the investigation have since claimed that officers also did not sufficiently attempt to gather forensic evidence before or after JonBenét's body was found, possibly because they immediately suspected the Ramseys in the killing.[2] Some officers holding these suspicions reported them to local media, who began reporting on January 1 that the assistant district attorney thought 'it's not adding up'; the fact that the body of the girl was found in her own home was considered highly suspicious by the investigating officers.[2] The results of the autopsy revealed that JonBenét was killed by strangulation and a skull fracture. A garrote made from a length of tweed cord and the broken handle of a paintbrush had been used to strangle her; her skull had suffered severe blunt trauma; there was no evidence of conventional rape, although sexual assault could not be ruled out. The official cause of death was asphyxiation due to strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma.
[edit] Crime scene

The bristle end of the paintbrush was found in a tub of Patsy Ramsey's art supplies, but the bottom third was never located despite extensive searching of the house by law enforcement in subsequent days.[3] Experts noted that the construction of the garrote required a special knowledge of knots. Autopsy also revealed that JonBenét had eaten pineapple only a few hours before the murder.[4] Photographs of the home, taken the day JonBenét's body was found, show a bowl of pineapple on the kitchen table with a spoon in it,[4] and police reported finding Patsy's and JonBenet's nine-year-old brother Burke Ramsey's fingerprints on it.[5] However, both Patsy and John claim not to remember putting this bowl on the table or feeding pineapple to JonBenét.[4][5] (The Ramseys had always maintained that Burke had slept through the entire episode, until awakened several hours after the police arrived.) While it was reported that no footprints led to the house on snow-covered ground, other reporters found that snow around the doors of the house had been cleared away.[6] Police reported no signs of forced entry, although a basement window that had been broken and left unsecured before Christmas, along with other open doors, were not reported to the public until a year later.[6]
[edit] Later developments

In December 2003, forensic investigators extracted enough material from a mixed blood sample found on JonBenét's underwear to establish a DNA profile.[7] The DNA belongs to an unknown male. The DNA was submitted to the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a database containing more than 1.6 million DNA profiles, mainly from convicted felons. The sample has yet to find a match in the database, although it continues to be checked for partial matches on a weekly basis, as are all unmatched samples.[citation needed]

Later investigations also discovered that there were more than 100 burglaries in the Ramseys' neighborhood in the months before JonBenét's murder, and that 38 registered sex offenders were living within a two-mile (3 km) radius of the Ramseys' home—an area that encompasses half the population of the city of Boulder—but that none of the sex offenders had any involvement in the murder.[8]

On August 16, 2006, 41-year-old John Mark Karr, a former schoolteacher, confessed to the murder while being held on child pornography charges from Sonoma County, California. Authorities reportedly tracked him down using the Internet after he sent e-mails regarding the Ramsey case to Michael Tracey, a journalism professor at the University of Colorado.[9] Once apprehended, he confessed to being with JonBenét when she died, stating that her death was an accident. When asked if he was innocent, he responded, 'No.'

However, Karr's DNA did not match that found on JonBenét Ramsey's body. On August 28, 2006, prosecutors announced that no charges would be filed against him for the murder of JonBenét Ramsey.[10][11][12] In early December 2006, Department of Homeland Security officials reported that federal investigators were continuing to explore whether Karr had been a possible accomplice in the killing.

No evidence has ever come to light that placed the then-married Alabama resident Karr near Boulder during the Christmas 1996 crime. Evidence linking Karr to the killing is highly circumstantial in nature. For instance, handwriting samples taken from Karr were said to match the ransom note. In particular, his technique for writing the letters E, T and M were described by the media as being very rare.
[edit] Letter from District Attorney-Ramsey family exonerated

On July 9, 2008, the Boulder District Attorney's office announced that as a result of newly developed DNA sampling and testing techniques, the Ramsey family members are no longer considered suspects in the case.[13][14] In light of the new DNA evidence, Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy gave a letter[15] to John Ramsey the same day, officially apologizing to the Ramsey family:

This new scientific evidence convinces state that we do not consider your immediate family, including you, your wife, Patsy, and your son, Burke, to be under any suspicion in the commission of this crime.

... The match of Male DNA on two separate items of clothing worn by the victim at the time of the murder makes it clear to us that an unknown male handled these items. There is no innocent explanation for its incriminating presence at three sites on these two different items of clothing that JonBenét was wearing at the time of her murder. ... To the extent that we may have contributed in any way to the public perception that you might have been involved in this crime, I am deeply sorry. No innocent person should have to endure such an extensive trial in the court of public opinion, especially when public officials have not had sufficient evidence to initiate a trial in a court of law. ... We intend in the future to treat you as the victims of this crime, with the sympathy due you because of the horrific loss you suffered. ... I am aware that there will be those who will choose to continue to differ with our conclusion. But DNA is very often the most reliable forensic evidence we can hope to find and we rely on it often to bring to justice those who have committed crimes. I am very comfortable that our conclusion that this evidence has vindicated your family is based firmly on all of the evidence, ... [15][16]

[edit] New District Attorney

In January 2009 Stan Garnett, the new Boulder County D.A., stated he planned to take a fresh look at the case. On February 2, 2009, Boulder police Chief Mark Beckner announced that Garnett was turning the case over to his agency, and that his team would resume investigating the homicide. 'Some cases never get solved, but some do,' Beckner said. 'And you can't give up.'[1]
[edit] Suspicion

Case speculation by experts, media and the parents has supported different hypotheses. For a long time, the local police supported the hypothesis that her mother Patricia Ramsey injured her child in a fit of rage after the girl had wet her bed on the same night, and then proceeded to kill her either in rage or to cover up the original injury. According to a Colorado Bureau of Investigation report, 'There are indications that the author of the ransom note is Patricia Ramsey,' but they could not definitely prove this assertion.[17]

Another hypothesis was that John Ramsey had been sexually abusing his daughter and murdered her as a cover. The Ramseys' son Burke, who was nine at the time of JonBenét's death, was also targeted by speculation, and asked to testify at the grand jury hearing.[18] In 1999, the Governor of Colorado, Bill Owens, told the parents of JonBenét Ramsey to 'quit hiding behind their attorneys, quit hiding behind their PR firm.'[19] Police suspicions were initially concentrated almost exclusively on the members of the Ramsey family, although the girl's parents had no prior signs of aggression in the public record.

The Ramseys have consistently held that the crime was committed by an intruder. They hired John E. Douglas, former head of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, to examine the case. While retained by the Ramsey family, he concluded that the Ramseys were not involved in the murder. He also concluded that it was unlikely that anyone would resolve the case. He detailed his arguments in his 2001 book, The Cases That Haunt Us. Lou Smit, a seasoned detective who came out of retirement to assist Boulder authorities with the case in early 1997, originally suspected the parents, but after assessing all the evidence that had been collected, also concluded that an intruder had committed the crime.[20] While no longer an official investigator on the case, Smit continued to work on it until his death in 2010.[21]

With such contradictory evidence, a grand jury failed to indict the Ramseys or anyone else in the murder of JonBenét. Not long after the murder, the parents moved to a new home in Atlanta. Two of the lead investigators in the case resigned, one because he believed that the investigation had incompetently overlooked the intruder hypothesis, and the other because he believed that the investigation had failed to successfully prosecute the Ramseys.[3] Even so, remaining investigators are still trying to identify a possible suspect. Patricia 'Patsy' Ramsey died of ovarian cancer on June 24, 2006, at the age of 49.[citation needed]

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