New clues in decades-old cold case of a child found in a basement trunk in Greece, New York

Posted at 10:24 AM, Jun 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-19 10:24:22-04

More than four decades after the remains of a little boy were discovered, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children hopes new technology could unlock his story.

The child's body was found in early March 1976.  His tiny remains were in a blue metal storage trunk, in the basement of an apartment complex in Greece, New York, just outside Rochester.

Until recently, even the gender of the child was undetermined.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children worked with Greece Police Department to test the child's DNA and learned the child was male.  He was likely 3 to 5 years old at the time of his death. 

Investigators looked closely at the skeletal remains and found additional new clues.  He had a prominent bulge on the back left region of his skull. The cause of the abnormality isn't clear, but the examiners determined the child likely wasn't able to walk and had developmental deficiencies.

The little boy with brown hair was found wearing a light blue pajama top with a deer design on its left chest.  A plastic diaper was fastened with two stainless steel diaper pins.

Artists used facial reconstruction technology to create a likeness of what the child may have looked like in life.

Isotope testing, which is relatively new, has also been applied in the case.  Researchers look at plant matter and biological factors to identify regions of the country where a victim may have lived.  WPTV NewsChannel 5 took a deeper look at how microbial DNA can unlock answers to cases that might otherwise go unsolved.

In this case, the child likely spent part of its life in a region in the western part of the United States.  Later years may have been spent in the southeast.

Investigators are using the new technology in several cold cases, including one involving a teenager discovered dead in the 1970s.

If you have tips or information that may help, call NCMEC at 1-800-843-5678.