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Joseph Augustus Zarelli was Found To Be “Boy in the Box”. 1957 Unsolved Case

Joseph Augustus Zarelli

Zarelli’s name was revealed by authorities on Thursday, answering decades-old doubts about his identity while also shedding new insight into a mystery that has perplexed the nation and detectives for years. According to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, the case is the city’s oldest unsolved. “No one ever came forward,” Outlaw added, stressing that the issue has “haunted” the city and the world, despite the efforts of countless officers, detectives, geneticists, and specialists.

1957 Mystery Case:

Joseph Augustus Zarelli, often known as the “Kid in the Box,” was a four-year-old boy who was naked, and beaten on the side of Susquehanna Road, Pennsylvania, in February 1957, discovered body. He appeared clean and well-groomed, with a recent haircut and trimmed fingernails, despite having undergone considerable physical abuse before his death, as evidenced by various bruises on his body. He was also discovered to be malnourished. Scars covered the body, some of which were surgical. The authorities suspect the death was caused by homicide by blunt force trauma.

Discovery of Body:

Discovery of Body


Zarelli’s body was discovered in the woods in Fox Chase, Philadelphia, on February 25, 1957. A young man was checking his muskrat traps when he found the body. A college student noticed a rabbit fleeing into the underbrush a few days later. Knowing there were animal traps nearby, he pulled over to check and discovered the body. He was hesitant to inform the police what he had found the next day after learning of Mary Jane Barker’s abduction.

Investigation Goes On:

Investigation Goes On


Police stated they had suspicions about who killed Zarelli, but no information about the suspects could be released. The Vidocq Society’s William Fleisher, who assisted with the investigation, stated that he sensed their presence in the room. Investigators believe Zarelli was from West Philadelphia, near 61st, and was reported missing, according to Police Capt. Jason Smith. He hopes someone who knew Zarelli is out there and saw him. A bassinet box held the badly bruised bones—investigators were on to find his identity.

Joseph Augustus Zarelli was Found To Be a “Boy in the Box”:

According to Philadelphia police, He has been identified. “His entire identity and rightful claim to his existence were taken away,” Outlaw explained. She says that she hopes no one ever has to wait this long for justice again, and she paid tribute to the investigators who worked the case but did not survive to see this outcome. “This announcement simply closes one chapter”, Outlaw explained.

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