Philadelphia’s “child in the box” has been identified as 4-year-old Joseph Augustus Zarelli, 65 years after his body was discovered bruised and wrapped in a blanket.
During a news conference on Thursday, police presented an update on the decades-old cold case. According to Philadelphia police Capt. Jason Smith, the boy’s parents will not be recognized out of consideration for his living siblings.
At this moment, detectives only have “suspicion” regarding who murdered Zarelli, which they would not discuss because the killing is still under inquiry.
On February 25, 1957, Joseph was discovered brutally beaten and wrapped in a blanket in a box in a wooded section of the Fox Chase neighborhood. According to police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, he endured atrocities that no one, no one should ever be exposed to.
The kid was never claimed by anyone.
The manner of death is thought to be blunt force trauma. Police believe they may never make an arrest or identify who is involved, but they will attempt.
According to officials, Zarelli’s parents are both deceased.
BOY IN THE BOX ID’D: Joseph Augustus Zarelli@PPDCommish: “This announcement only closes one chapter in this little boy’s story.. this is still an active homicide investigation” @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/jsOSq6Ci5o— Kelly Rule (@KellyRuleTV) December 8, 2022
Numerous specialists in legal, medicine and other sectors worked the case over six decades. After his biological mother was found, Zarelli’s birth certificate was discovered. His biological father was named on the certificate, and the boy’s paternal relations were contacted. Investigators believe a social security number was never given for Zarelli, who was born Jan. 13, 1953.
Authorities hope that the technologies used to recognize Zarelli may help them solve additional crimes.