Boy in the Box

( 1 )


A riveting true account of the infamous child-murder mystery that has gripped Philadelphia and all of
America for more than 50 years
On February 25, 1957, the nude, badly bruised body of a young boy was found in a cardboard box in trash-strewn woods of north Philadelphia. Posters seeking information on the identity of the “Boy in the ...

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A riveting true account of the infamous child-murder mystery that has gripped Philadelphia and all of
America for more than 50 years
On February 25, 1957, the nude, badly bruised body of a young boy was found in a cardboard box in trash-strewn woods of north Philadelphia. Posters seeking information on the identity of the “Boy in the Box” dotted the city and police stations nationwide—but to no avail. In November 1998 the remains were exhumed for DNA analysis, and the boy was reburied as “America’s Unknown Child.”
The Boy in the Box is the first book to thoroughly examine America’s most famous unsolved case of child murder—a case that ushered in a whole new era of public consciousness about missing children. Through first-hand interviews and thorough research, David Stout chronicles half a century of shocking and mysterious events surrounding the discovery of the body. He considers the case through the eyes of detectives, some of whom spent their entire adult lives working to solve it. Exploring every theory, profiling a wide array of suspects and informants, and following the national movement to help solve this case, Stout gives readers a compelling, haunting, and unique portrait of a city and a nation impacted by this mysterious crime from the 1950s to today.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Philadelphia's "Boy in the Box" is one of the country's most famous unsolved crimes, but New York Times reporter Stout delivers a disappointing account of the long-running investigation. In February 1957, the body of a boy between ages four and six was discovered in a cardboard box in a wooded area in Philadelphia's Fox Chase section. Even with an apparent abundance of clues-the plaid blanket wrapped around the body, the cap found nearby-the case went cold fast, though it would become a lifelong obsession for several investigators. Remington Bristow, from the Medical Examiner's office, spent the rest of his life tracking down leads. Detectives Bill Kelly and Sam Weinstein joined the city's elite Vidocq Society-forensic professionals and others who try to solve such crimes-in the hopes of finally giving the boy a name. In 1998, the boy's body was exhumed for DNA testing. A woman has recently claimed that her parents killed the boy but authorities have been unable to prove-or disprove-her story. Stout's uneven chronology, further hampered by myriad digressions, will confuse even the most attentive reader, and frequent lapses into melodrama cheapen a compelling tale. (Sept. 2)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599212692
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/2/2008
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,382,519
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

David Stout, a veteran journalist with the New York Times, is currently a reporter for the paper’s Washington, DC, bureau. He is the author of three novels, including the Edgar Award–winning mystery Carolina Skeletons. He is also the author of Night of the Devil, about the slaying of two policemen in Lodi, New Jersey.

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Table of Contents

Author's Note     vii
A Graveside Gathering     1
Trapper and Peeper     6
Rain and Sorrow     14
What Death Can Tell     20
A Life Is Changed     28
"A National Case"     36
A Happy Time's Dark Side     44
Paths to Nowhere     58
The Trail Leads West     64
Into the Darkest Swamps     69
Call Back the Years     75
Visions of a Cabin     79
Sheltering the Children     90
The Hungarian Clue     101
College Secrets     108
American Families     110
Changes and Farewells     117
Dying Too Young     134
What Happens in Life     144
Husband and Wife     148
A Boy Is "Adopted"     155
What Adam Begot     161
"Way Back in Time"     167
Places of Honor     176
Blessings on Him     181
A Call from Cincinnati     186
A Tale of Horror     190
The Good Smaritan     201
How Much to Believe?     204
"Nothing Is Confirmed"     210
"WackyTheories"     216
An Old Coal Bin     220
Giving in to Time     224
More Frustration     228
"Thy Will Be Done..."     231
On Life's Back Roads     239
Epilogue     246
Acknowledgments     248
Sources     250
Index     251
About the Author     256
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Reading

    I read this book quickly...could not put it down. Very detailed. It takes the reader into the minds of the people involved and makes you feel you are there. Well written!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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