America's Unknown Child
1951 - February 1957
Find A Grave Memorial

A clay bust of what this beautiful boy might have looked like in life.

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on a road called Susquehanna Road, on February 25, 1957, the battered body of a small boy was found wrapped in a blanket and stuffed inside a cardboard box that once contained a bassinet.

The child was thought to be between the ages of 4 and 6.  His hair, toenails and fingernails had recently been groomed.  He was found face up, in the box and his body was nude, though he was wrapped in a blanket.  His eyes were blue, his hair was blonde and he appeared to be suffering from malnutrition.

The child had signs of having had several surgeries in the past. It was hard to know just how long the child had been dead, since the weather was cold that time of the year.

The discovery site on Susquehanna Road.

In an attempt to help identify the child, police dressed him up in children's clothing and sat him up as though he were sleeping. Unfortunately, he was not recognized by anyone. Below is a picture of the child sitting up and an artists view of what the child looked like. I have chosen not to post pictures that show the child more clearly, however, you can visit the site listed at the bottom of this story to find full details and more pictures.  

Evidence collected at the site where the child was found consisted of items that may or may not have belonged to the child and his murderer. A pair of children's shoes that did not fit the child, a shirt that was the size which the child would have worn, a mans white handkerchief, a child's scarf and perhaps the most important item found was a royal blue corduroy mans hat with a leather strap and a buckle in the back. This is a picture of the box this child was found in, with his body is still inside. Then a picture of the box, which came from JC Penny and originally held a bassinet.


There was a path in the brush that went directly from the hat to the child's body. It was learned that the hat was made by the Robin's Bald Eagle Hat & Cap Company in Philadelphia. Police also learned that only 12 of this particular hat had been made and they had been made without the strap in the back.

Mrs. Robin's remembered the man who came in to purchase the hat asking her to sew the strap on. Mrs. Robin's also remember that the man looked like the child in the pictures on the police poster.  He had come to the store alone, was dressed in work clothes, had blonde hair and was thought to be in his late 20's.

A woman by the name of Martha came forward to say that the child's name was Jonathan.  Martha claimed that her mother had purchased Jonathan for the purpose of sexually abusing him claiming her mother had been sexually abusing her as well. Martha said that Jonathan was not able to talk and was mentally handicapped.

Martha gave many details about what happened on the day Jonathan had died. He had thrown up in the bathtub which caused Martha's mother to become angry with him. Martha's mother had killed him by slamming him on the floor.

Martha's told of driving "Jonathan's" body in the trunk of the car, to the area where she and her mother dumped him. She told of a man who had stopped and asked them if they were having car trouble. This story matched an account that had been given to the police by a man who reported having stopped on the road to ask a woman if she was  having car trouble. The police were very skeptical since Martha had a history of mental illness and the case was considered unsolved.

Though many people called in with leads, which lead to the questioning of many many people, no arrests were ever made in this case of this murdered child. The investigation is still going on today..

Please visit the site below to find out more about this case and to find phone numbers and e-mail addresses where you can contact investigators if you have any information:

Return to the story of America's Unknown Child
View pictures of and read about the funerals for this child
More pictures from memorials for this child

Death Occurred in the state of Pennsylvania

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