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The Boy in the Box: The Unsolved Case of America's Unknown Child

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  156 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
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 of the “Boy in the Box” soon dotted the city and police stations nationwide—to no avail. In November 1998 the remains were exhumed for DNA analysis, and the boy was reburied as “America’s Unknown Child.”


This is a  riveting tru
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 2nd 2008 by The Lyons Press
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Rebecca Hill
Apr 25, 2017 Rebecca Hill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, mystery
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 in to writing this heartbreaking 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. D ...more
Katherine Addison
The Boy in the Box (later pretentiously renamed America's Unknown Child) was a child, somewhere between four and six years old, found in a cardboard box in Philadelphia in February 1957. He had been beaten to death. Despite what seemed like any number of promising clues, including surgical scars, he has, to this day, not been positively identified, and at this point, every passing day makes it more likely that the person or persons who could have identified him are dead themselves.

This is the bo
Feb 01, 2012 Ndecker1 rated it it was ok
It was a very sad story about a ~ 4 year old boy which was found in a box by the side of the road. It is still an unsolved case. It really was tough for me to read because it was very sad... and a lot of people tried very hard to solve this case.

In this day and age we are surrounded by crime scene investigation movies,tv shows, etc... you would think I would become immuned when reading this. I think the opposite happened to me. It made all those awful things real...

And to me.. it was a bit scar
Naomi Blackburn
Aug 26, 2010 Naomi Blackburn rated it really liked it
I have always been fascinated by the Vidocq Society since their success with the John List case. That is what drew me to this book. However, one cannot be emotionally moved by the sad case of this forgotten boy and the cops who would not give up on this case.

If you are interested in Vidocq, a good follow up read is The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases.
Aug 02, 2015 Dixie rated it really liked it
Incredibly sad story of a very young boy, beaten to death and abandoned. It's hard to understand how someone could do this to a child, and for no one to ever come forward when a child disappears. Moving how the case affected so many lives of investigators through the years. It did get a bit side-tracked about other cases of children who were essentially "thrown away". Well written book. Be ready to have your heart tugged on if you read this one.
Jeffrey Bumiller
Jul 02, 2017 Jeffrey Bumiller rated it really liked it
The case of the boy in the box is about as fascinating and frustrating as they get. The book is also both fascinating and frustrating because, as it says right there in the title, this case is still unsolved. Stout takes the reader through every possible theory, lead and let down imaginable. But the book itself is not a let down at all, it's well-written and gripping. I highly recommend it.
Karen Belom
Jul 21, 2017 Karen Belom rated it really liked it
May 10, 2017 Miranda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, hate-reads
It's summer and I'll read trash if I want to

Placeholder review. Book was guilty pleasure but light on the pleasure part. May write longer review at a later time.
Tara Lynn
Jan 12, 2009 Tara Lynn rated it really liked it
I first became aware of this case through a recent news article, summing up the facts of the story as it first appeared in the 1950's. I've always been fascinated by true crime, a passion that followed me through the years getting a Criminology degree from Adelphi University.

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 of the "Boy in the Box" soon dotted the city and police stations nationwide
Katelyn Schifferdecker
Dec 07, 2016 Katelyn Schifferdecker rated it it was amazing
The last book I read was The Boy in the Box by David Stout. This book is about the unsolved mystery of a little boy who's body was found beaten and bruised very badly in a cardboard box on February 25, 1957. To this day, the case remains open and police have no idea who killed the boy and how. This book goes into detail about all the known facts of the crime, and different theories as to what could have happened to the little boy.
I really liked this book because I personally love everything c
Bobbi Heck
Apr 09, 2010 Bobbi Heck rated it really liked it
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 o ...more
Gina's Library
Oct 17, 2014 Gina's Library rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
This is a true story of a crime that has never been solved. It’s unthinkable really! How can someone dispose of a child so heartlessly? The poor unnamed child must of lived such a horrible existence until his untimely death.

The officers assigned to this case lived, and breathed this case. It was not just a job to them. This case haunted them in some ways. They never gave up and wanted to not only find out the identity of the boy but find his parents and who left him in the box.

I’m surprised the
Jan 12, 2009 Jessica rated it liked it
The problem with this book is since this is still an unsolved crime there isn’t information to fill an entire book. So to fill pages you get a lot of filler. Towards the end there are pages of unrelated crimes documented that the author doesn’t even make an attempt to pull together. The last few pages are simply the author writing a fictional account of what may have happened. It was a bit ridiculous. The parts that actually had something to do with the crime were very interesting. I just think ...more
Melissa Dally
Mar 18, 2013 Melissa Dally rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
I have been very interested in this case since I first started running across it online. How could nobody remember this little boy? This book was very readable, I pored right through it. It's very sad tho, and yes there are pictures of his remains. The author really did his homework and the detectives that have worked this case over the years clearly did as well, leaving no stone unturned in the search for the boy's name.

Also there are many theories and potentially similar cases, even some of t
Jan 16, 2016 SouthWestZippy rated it really liked it
On February 25, 1957 a young boy was found in a cardboard box. Despite the efforts of detectives remains unsolved. In November 1998 the remains were exhumed for DNA testing. In June of 2002 a woman comes forward with a compelling and heartbreaking story. Leaving you with so many unanswerable questions.
The book does tend to jump around a bit and Author does a lot of speculation on the subject but does draw you in and keep you reading.
May 30, 2009 Kerfe rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A quick, easy read; intriguing, but ultimately unsatisfying; this is the story of an unsolved child murder in Philadelphia in 1957. The author also touches on other cases of child murder and abuse as it follows the 50-year investigation to discover the identity of "the boy in the box". Several possibilites stand out, but no final answers are found to the questions of "who?" and "why?". What remains is the haunting reality of a discarded child.
Sep 14, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it
This is such a heartbreaking story I wish had some closure. It's scary how many other murders probably went unsolved in the days before DNA and computers. How many children were buried without an identity. The author did his research with this sad case and mentions a few other just as haunting cases. It's a story I won't soon forget
Aug 18, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing
In learning about the Boy in a Box, I became intrigued by the real account, what I read gave me a better idea in how the information and history take place. I hope one day we find the boys name as well as the details of the cause behind the events that lead to his death.
Jan 23, 2016 Fishface rated it really liked it
A close look at a maddeningly unsolved case. Small boy found dead in a cardboard box by the side of a road. Nationwide publicity and every effort by the police yielded nothing. Did the woman who came forward decades later really know something, or was she a kook?
Katherine Kijanka
Nov 18, 2011 Katherine Kijanka rated it it was amazing
This is a quick and easy reading. This is a sad story with no happy ending, but was very interesting and based on real events.
Aug 16, 2015 Lupe rated it it was ok
I don't even know why I tried to read this book. I was hopeful that the murder would be solved. Unfortunately, I was so sickened and saddened by the whole incident. So incredibly sad.
Donna Destefanis
Sep 04, 2016 Donna Destefanis rated it it was amazing
Very disturbing book.
Jul 20, 2012 Sally rated it it was amazing
I've followed this case for years, always hoping they would find a new lead with our newer technology. I have my ideas of who did this, as I'm sure many others do too.
Oct 07, 2011 Jeanne rated it liked it
It's a sad story and there is no happy ending. I know happy endings don't always happen but I wonder why the book was really written.
Misty Sanders vaughn
Jan 21, 2014 Misty Sanders vaughn rated it really liked it
Sad, but perplexing.
Jul 05, 2011 Gina86 rated it really liked it
Really interesting read as a person not into mystery I couldn't stop reading this story about this young poor child ...mainly BC it was true
Valerie dubois
Valerie dubois rated it it was amazing
Jul 16, 2016
Dnpluta rated it it was amazing
Jul 14, 2017
Lorie Wooten
Lorie Wooten rated it really liked it
Nov 15, 2015
Hana Kim
Hana Kim rated it liked it
May 12, 2016
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David Stout (b. 1942) is an accomplished reporter who has been writing mysteries and true crime since the 1980s. Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, Stout took a job at the New York Times in 1982. He spent nearly twenty-eight years at the newspaper, as a reporter, editor and rewrite man covering national news and sports, and retired in 2009.

Stout began writing his first novel while working at the Times. B
More about David Stout...

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