Nevada could help identify a child's remains discovered 41 years ago

An artist's rendering of a child found dead in Greece, New York, back in 1976 (Image courtesy National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

Investigators hope someone can tell them what happened to a little boy who died 41 years ago. The child was found in New York, but a person in our area, 2,500 miles away, could help crack the case.

The child’s remains were discovered in a blue metal storage trunk inside a basement in Greece, New York on March 9, 1976. It’s a neighborhood just outside of Rochester.

Officers didn’t know who the child was or the cause of death. They only knew the child was wearing a blue pajama top and a plastic diaper. At the time, they didn’t even know if it was a boy or a girl.

The case sat cold for four decades without a lead. That is, until Sgt. Dave Mancuso with the Greece Police Department got the case in 2015.

“We called the medical examiner's office, who suggested we contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; contacted those folks and they assisted us with exhuming the body a few months later,” said Mancuso.

Examiners exhumed the body, tested the bones and through DNA discovered the child was a boy, with brown hair, between the ages of 3 to 5 years old. The child’s remains could now be fully examined, this time with new technology that didn’t exist 40 years ago.

Sgt. Mancuso said through isotope testing that measures minerals, they could determine what the child ate and where that food came from. Investigators believe the boy likely spent the first years of his life somewhere in the northwestern U.S., potentially including Nevada. The later years of his life were probably spent in the Southeast.

But there was something unusual. The boy’s skull had a large prominent bulge on the back left part of the skull. Experts say it likely meant that boy could not walk and had developmental deficiencies. The skeleton revealed the child was malnourished and neglected.

With this information, artists from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children came up with a drawing to give a face to the boy found in the trunk.

“To see this boy looking back at me makes me want to solve this crime that much more,” Mancuso said. “We know the answers are out there, it's just going to take one person who knows something about this boy 40 years ago to come forward and give us that information.”

Investigators want you to call 1-800-THE-LOST if you know anything about the boy, who is or how he died.

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