I originally wrote this a couple of years ago, as a book review on Goodreads.com. This book is one that I cannot stop going back to. The details, the heartbreak, and the determination of the police officers, even after all these years, to try and solve the case. This is a cold case, over 50 years cold. This little-unnamed boy deserves a name and some closure. The person or persons responsible should have their names known. I have been slowly working on trying to get more information on this case. I recently ran across another book on this case, and I am hoping to sit down and dive into it soon. I want to see this case closed, and the police officers who have worked so hard deserve to see this case closed.

The Boy in the Box: The Unsolved Case Of America’s Unknown Child by David Stout

A child who was loved more in death than in life…

I have to give this five stars for the excellent work that the author put into writing this tragic history. The tragedy of losing a child is made harder when the child is not reported missing or people coming forward to claim or identify a missing child. The case of the Boy in the Box, from Fox Chase Pennsylvania, is something that consumed the careers of many police officers and left many of the brightest minds scratching their heads. Discovered in February 1957, the young boy was seen as a case that would be easily solved, as someone would come forward to claim the body. The medical examiner noticed the bruising and wounds on the body. Each person who worked the case of the Boy in the Box became so involved, that the child became a silent member of each family. With the hope of a fast solve quickly becoming dashed as the days turn into weeks and then stretching into months and years. The Boy in the Box was buried by the police department, everything being donated and contributed by the community and the homicide detectives. The case was never closed and they continue to work the case and follow any and all leads. Nothing was considered too small to follow up on, and the case moved from small files to the several boxes of notes and mementos.

Today the case is still open, and the young boy who was more loved in death than he was in life, remains nameless, cared for by the policemen who take over the case and the community who have adopted him as their own.

Final Thoughts

This book was a hard read. I love real crime and the many facets of what can make a person tick, but this story… this was enough to keep me awake for multiple nights. I don’t often cry while reading a book or watching a movie, but this book had me in tears more than once. I found myself asking questions throughout this entire read.. how could anyone do this to a child? Who could not claim the young boy and give him his full identity back? I found myself wishing that they could have done more, even though they did everything they could and then some. While this case is still open, given the length of time, its entirely possible that this case will never be solved, and that makes it even worse.

As a mother, I can’t imagine how any parent could not come forward and claim their little child. I was left feeling angry, confused, and trying to figure the many different possibilities of why any parent would not come forward. I popped in on my kids more than once while they were sleeping to just look at them, and contemplate the horrifying truth that was printed in this book. There were several moments while I was reading this book that left me absolutely horrified. Times have changed, yes, but the love that parents have for their children have not. I hope that this case will continue and that maybe with the leaps and bounds that forensic science has taken, that this little boy will be identified. Even if the person who caused the injuries or placed him where he would be found is gone, knowing the full story and getting a conclusion to the story would help complete the thousands of hours of work that the original officers and medical examiner put into trying to find the answer. The closure will never entirely happen, but bringing the case to completion and finding an explanation will go a long way to helping a community and police department close the case of the young child who has become the “Boy In The Box.”

14 Thoughts to “The Boy In the Box – A Book Review”

  1. I have read a few articles on The boy in the Box, also known as “America’s Unknown Child”. It’s just so heart breaking that a child would never be claimed by any member of his family. I haven’t read the book, so adding it to my TBR list.

    1. archaeologistofbooks

      Keep tissues handy! It is a very heartbreaking case. Let me know what you think of it when you finish!

      1. Oh, oh! I will 🙂

  2. Wow! What a haunting case. Theyll be some police officers who have passed with this case on thier mind. I hope they solve it one day 🙁 I’m going to read this one – not because i’m excited by it but maybe the more the story is told, the more chance of finding a conclusion there is.

    1. archaeologistofbooks

      Yes! As soon as I have a house with more space I plan to lay out the case on a wall and start really looking at it.

      1. I wish you the best of luck. You’ll have to blog your findings and journey

      2. archaeologistofbooks

        I will!

  3. Love, Sawyer

    Oh my gosh, this is heartbreaking! I’m really glad there are people who can write and read about this stuff, I don’t think I’d have the stomach for it.

    1. archaeologistofbooks

      It was a heartbreaking read! I love true crime and love to watch my murder shows, but cases that involve kids always break my heart.

    2. archaeologistofbooks

      It was a harder one for me to write. I love my murder shows and books, but crimes against kids are the hardest to do.

  4. I hadn’t heard of this case before, but what you’re describing is unimaginable. It baffels me how anyone can mistreat an innocent child.I will be adding this book to my list to read. That poor child!

    1. archaeologistofbooks

      It is a must read book! Keep tissues handy! When you finish I would be interested in hearing your thoughts!

  5. I’ve heard quite a bit about this case and it breaks my heart. Definitely going to look into this book thanks to your review!
    – Hannah / https://hannnahsbookshelf.wordpress.com

    1. archaeologistofbooks

      Glad you liked the review! Let me know what you think of the book when you are done.

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