Forensics experts aid investigation of boy found dead inside suitcase

Officials continue their search for answers on a 5-year-old boy found dead in a suitcase in Southern Indiana over the weekend.
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 5:27 PM EDT

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ind. (WAVE) - Officials continue their search for answers on a 5-year-old boy found dead in a suitcase in Southern Indiana over the weekend.

The boy’s body was found by a mushroom hunter on Saturday night around 7:30 p.m., in a wooded area in New Pekin off East Holder Road.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is helping Indiana State Police try to figure out who this young boy is.

“This little boy needs his name returned to him,” Carol Schweitzer, Supervisor Forensic Services at National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said. “Someone out there has that answer.”

The suitcase the boy was found in is distinctive, with an image of the city of Las Vegas around the outside.

ISP said the boy was found Saturday, but believed he died within a week of when he was found.

Police described the child as a Black boy around 5-years-old. He is listed about 4 feet tall with short hair and a slim build.

Schweitzer said they working with ISP on this investigation. They have many resources available to help forward the investigation, including a forensic artist who can do facial reconstruction, analytical and forensic resources that help test evidence.

The suitcase, Schweitzer said, is proof someone was intentional of disposing this child’s body.

“There is one other person involved that law enforcement is trying to identify and locate,” Schweitzer said. “With this, we have seen other cases where young children have been concealed in different pieces of luggage and blankets or bedding or other things that can conceal the child but, sometimes it’s not as much for concealment but, more so for that child to be easily transported from where they may have died to where they were later found.”

The boy’s autopsy was completed on Tuesday afternoon. The autopsy did not reveal any obvious cause of death, so Indiana State Police said they will now rely on toxicology reports to see if the child had drugs in his system when he died.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said they are also checking national cases for any child that matches the description. They said the tough part in cases like this is that so many children are not reported missing to begin with, which makes them harder to find.

Indiana State Police set up a tip line for any information relating to the case. That number is (888) 437-6432.

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