Genealogist who helped identify 'Boy in the Box' visits grave, seeks justice for child

"I want to have his story told. I want to have it out in the world to do him justice," said Gillis.

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Friday, December 9, 2022
Genealogist who helped ID 'Boy in the Box' wants justice for child
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"I've actually known about this case since I was a child. I've followed true crime and was interested in it...," said Misty Gillis, a forensic genealogist at Identifiers International.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- An agonizing mystery, now partially solved. The "Boy in the Box" has been identified as Joseph Augustus Zarelli, all thanks to the tireless work of detectives and genealogists.

"I've actually known about this case since I was a child. I've followed true crime and was interested in it...," said Misty Gillis, a forensic genealogist at Identifiers International.

Gillis is a forensic genealogist with Identifiers International and has spent the last three years working diligently to put a name to the face of "America's Unknown Child."

RELATED: Philadelphia police identify child known as the 'Boy in the Box' as Joseph Augustus Zarelli

She and her two young daughters visited Joseph's grave Thursday to bring him toy cars from the 1950s.

"It's been very personal to me because I have young children around the same age as Joseph," said Gillis.

Now that his name has been restored, she said it's time for his story, as traumatic as it might be, to come to light.

"I want to have his story told. I want to have it out in the world to do him justice," said Gillis.

Ivy Hill Cemetery officials said there are plans to etch Joseph's name onto his headstone. There was no immediate word on a date or time.

RELATED: 'Give him some dignity': Bucks police chief remembers working on 'Boy in the Box' case