Philadelphia Police Finally Solve the Identity of the ‘Boy in the Box’ Cold Case From 1957


The Philadelphia police solved part of a mystery that dates back to 1957.

Sixty five years ago, a body belonging to a boy was discovered in a Philadelphia box. It is still unknown who “Boy in the Box” is.

On Thursday, Danielle Outlaw (Philadelphia Police Commissioner) announced that the boy was four years old Joseph Augustus Zarelli. Zarelli was born in 1953. Police used modern DNA and genealogical methods to identify Zarelli.

WSB reports

The boy was found wrapped in blankets in a cardboard box in Northeast Philadelphia’s Fox Chase neighbourhood on February 25, 1957. His identity has not been confirmed over the years.

The boy was 30 lbs in weight and appeared to be malnourished.

This announcement closes one chapter in the story of Joseph Augustus Zarelli, but opens another. Without the dedication, hard work and passion of many, America’s child Joseph Augustus Zarelli would not be where he is today.

Authorities believe Zarelli died of blunt-force trauma. They might also have an idea of who was responsible.

Captain John Smith. Philadelphia Police stated that while we have suspicions as to who could be responsible, I would not share them with you since this is an ongoing criminal investigation.

Zarelli has two siblings, who are both still alive, even though their parents have passed away. To protect Zarelli’s identity, police are keeping their identities under wraps.

Smith said that Joseph had many siblings on both the mother and father sides. Smith acknowledged their privacy.

Detectives described this case as “one those cases” that have bothered law enforcement for decades. Families of victims are also affected by such cases.

Bill Kelly was one those law enforcement officers who saw the “Boy in the Box”, an eerie and disturbing case. Kelly made fingerprints on the boy’s body when the case broke.

He was the first person to arrive that fateful day. He was the fingerprint expert on the scene. His entire life, these fingerprints have been part of his DNA. He saw the exact same thing when he closed his eyes. WPVI was told by Jessica Green, Kelly’s great-granddaughter.

Kathleen Kelly Greene told WPVI that she thought her father would be so happy…so joyful. ”

It is possible that the family will see justice. Police offer a $20,000 reward for any information that leads to the investigation.

Sometimes it’s easy to be critical of the technology’s impact on the world. It’s wonderful when police can use modern technology to solve cases that were previously unsolved.