Philly Detectives Finally Identify 'Boy In The Box' Cold Case Victim Over 6 Decades Later

If you’re a follower of true crime cases, you might find that over the years there are some cold cases that just don’t have enough evidence and remain unsolved for decades.
Inside Edition reports on how Philadelphia detectives were finally able to identify a 4-year-old murder victim who had been previously identified as “the Boy in the Box” by investigators and the public for years.

On February 25, 1957, an unidentified child was found naked and beaten to death in a cardboard box in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

During a press conference in December 2022, detectives revealed “the Boy in the Box” to be Joseph Augustus Zarelli.

“In his very short life, it was apparent that this child experienced horrors that no one, no one should ever be subjected to,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw explained during a press conference.

For over 60 years, Joseph’s headstone simply read “Heavenly Father Bless This Unknown Boy.”

How were the investigators in this case finally able to identify the little boy after exhuming the body twice over the years to test DNA? It was advancements in technology and science over the last six decades that ultimately led to proper DNA analysis.

“My role was to take the very badly degraded DNA and try to develop data from it that we could try to use for genealogy. That took two and a half years and three different tries and we finally did it,” explains Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick from Identifiers International.

To find out if investigators have a suspect in this unsolved and brutal murder case, watch the full video from Inside Edition.

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