Police seek help identifying young boy found stuffed into suitcase in Indiana woods

NEW PEKIN, Ind. — A month after the body of a young boy was found stuffed into a suitcase in the woods of Indiana, authorities are no closer to learning the child’s name.

A mushroom hunter called 911 around 7:30 p.m. on April 16 to report finding a suitcase in a heavily wooded area off East Holder Road in New Pekin, located in eastern Washington County. According to the Indiana State Police, the body of a young Black boy was inside.

The boy was initially believed to be as old as 8 years old, but an autopsy placed his age at around 5 years old, troopers said last month. Indiana State Police Sgt. Carey Huls told WAVE in Louisville that the child’s cause of death has not been determined, and detectives are hoping toxicology results shed some light on how he died.

The boy is described as having a slim build and standing about 4 feet tall. His hair was cropped short.

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The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is assisting the investigation.

“This little boy needs his name returned to him,” Carol Schweitzer, the center’s supervisor of forensic services, told WAVE. “Someone out there has that answer.”

Authorities have not released a sketch of what the boy might have looked like before his death.

“The integrity of this investigation is utmost,” Huls said. “So, unless we can determine that releasing information will help the investigation instead of hinder it, that’s what we have to go by at this point.”

The hard-shell suitcase that held the boy’s body has a distinctive Las Vegas design on the front and back. “Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada,” the front of the case reads.

“Investigators hope this image will lead to more specific tips and the identification of the child,” troopers said last month.

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Schweitzer said at least one other person knows who the boy is: whoever left his body in the woods.

“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,” Schweitzer told the news station. “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.”

A toll-free tip line was established after the boy’s body was discovered, but none of the hundreds of calls have led to a viable tip on his identity.

“We are getting a lot of people on the internet searching for missing children, which is not what we need right now,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Carey Huls told CNN over the weekend. “We have contact with all of those agencies, and we are always checking that. We don’t have a match there.”

Anyone with information on the child’s identity can call the Indiana State Police tip line at 888-437-6432.