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Tags: crime | philadelphia | boy in the box | cold case

DNA Identifies Philadelphia's 'Boy in the Box'

DNA Identifies Philadelphia's 'Boy in the Box'
The gravesite of a small boy whose battered body body was found abandoned in a cardboard box decades ago is seen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Matt Rourke/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 08 December 2022 04:48 PM EST

Law enforcement has identified the victim in Philadelphia's oldest unsolved homicide, a case known as "the boy in the box," who died in 1957, ABC News reports.

On Feb. 25, 1957, a young boy was found dead inside a box in northeast Philadelphia. He had been severely beaten and emaciated, with officials estimating his age as between 4 and 6 years old. Thanks to DNA testing of possible relatives, police have identified the victim as Joseph Augustus Zarelli, who was born on Jan. 13, 1953.

"We have our suspicions as to who may be responsible, but it would be irresponsible of me to share these suspicions," Philadelphia Police Capt. Jason Smith said at a press conference, noting that the case remains open.

Smith added that while Zarelli's parents have been identified, their names will not be released to the public. He also noted that both are deceased.

"Joseph has a number of siblings on both the mother's and father's side who are living. And it is out of respect for them that their parents' information remain confidential," he said.

Smith said that he hopes this news will unleash an "avalanche of tips," saying, "in that avalanche, there might be a diamond in the rough. I'm hopeful there is somebody ... who remembers that child."

"I want to thank all who have worked tirelessly since 1957 to give Joseph Augustus Zarelli his voice back," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw wrote in a tweet.

"However, the search for justice continues. If you have any information on his homicide, please call 215-686-TIPS (8477). As with all homicides, there is a standing $20k reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a suspect. We will NEVER stop seeking justice for victims."

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Law enforcement has identified the victim in Philadelphia's oldest unsolved homicide, a case known as "the boy in the box," who died in 1957, ABC News reports. On Feb. 25, 1957, a young boy was found dead inside a box in northeast Philadelphia. ...
crime, philadelphia, boy in the box, cold case
291
2022-48-08
Thursday, 08 December 2022 04:48 PM
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