Friday, May 20, 2011

More Than 200 Tips Received On Boy's Identity Memorial Grows Where Boy's Body Found

 

POSTED: 7:37 am EDT May 17, 2011
UPDATED: 8:00 am EDT May 18, 2011
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SOUTH BERWICK, Maine --
Investigators later released this computer generated photo of the boy. The photo was created by the State Police Computer Crimes Unit.
Police are still trying to determine the identity of a boy whose body was found over the weekend in South Berwick.

The body of the boy, believed to be 4 to 6 years old, was found Saturday on Dennett Road, but no one has come forward to claim him.

In an afternoon news conference, Maine State Police said they have received more than 200 tips but still don't know who the boy is.

"This is just really bizarre that we're into day four now, and he's not reported missing," said Lt. Brian McDonough.

McDonough said investigators are exploring the possibility that a person associated with a truck seen in the area Saturday morning could be connected with the military.

He said the possibility is based on a witness statement that there may have been a naval insignia on and around the license plate.
Tuesday Press Conference Part 1
Tuesday Press Conference Part 2

He said that a military person might also not have as many ties in the neighborhood, explaining why neighbors might not know that a child was present in the home. Police are checking with local military officials to see if they have any information, McDonough said.

McDonough said police are also planning to submit the boy's DNA to databases to see if they can come up with a match.

Investigators said they have finished processing the scene where the body was found, and there is no longer need for them to be there, so neighbors have fashioned a memorial to the boy at the site.

Resident Debby Spaulding placed a red rose at the memorial.

"It stands for love," she said.

"I came down to say a prayer for the little guy," said resident Dawn Belanger.

Police released a computer-generated image of the boy, which has led to tips coming in from across the country. He was 3 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 45 pounds and had dirty blond hair and blue eyes.

Police say the boy was wearing these "Lightning McQueen" shoes, size 12 1/2. They appear to be recently purchased.

At a local diner, the grim discovery has been the main subject of conversation. Residents said they are puzzled why no one has stepped forward with an identity.

"Nobody can understand how nobody can recognize a child," said Eileen Mayo, owner of Mayo's Family Restaurant. "There's got to be a grandparent or a parent or somebody that knows what's become of him."

Waitress Brandi Turnbull said customers are still having trouble dealing with the fact that this has happened in their community.

"It's a tragedy, an absolute tragedy," she said. "They are just in disbelief about everything that happened. It's just too close to home."

The town has planned a vigil for Tuesday evening. A Facebook page has also been created to try to get more tips for police. More than 68,000 people had joined the page by Tuesday morning.

Hundreds Attend Memorial In Boy's Honor

Hundreds of people turned out in South Berwick on Tuesday night to honor the child.

Images From Memorial

"We don't know who he belongs to, and you don't want that for any human being," vigil organizer Amy Aiguier said. "You want to see other members of your community. You want to talk, you want to discuss it, and you want to show your support, because you know for everybody here, it hit home."

Vigil goers said they are praying someone can come forward with information leading to the child's identity.

People said that even though they don't know the child, they would want him to know he's not alone.

"Just the entire situation is completely -- is so disturbing, it terrifies me, and it makes me so sick that someone would do this to a little boy, a little child," resident Brianna Hale said.

Parents held on tightly to their children during the vigil.

"I have two little kids that look nothing like him, but every time I look at them I see -- look at that picture -- I see my kids," mourner Patrice McLean said.

For people in the community and in other nearby towns, the mystery makes for unsettling times.

"I know there's a lot of folks here in South Berwick that are nervous just cause maybe this guy's a local guy, maybe this person did this and they're unsure of themselves -- we don't know," resident David Flores said.

Some residents said the case has an eerie echo to another from 1997, when a 10-year-old Massachusetts boy was dumped in a local river.

While police continue to field tips about the boy's possible identity, community members want whoever is responsible to step forward.

Sanford resident Marge Trowbridge said, "Do the right thing -- turn yourself in. It breaks my heart because it's like, 'What animal would do such a thing to a little boy?'"

Previous Stories:

    May 17, 2011: Police Receive Multiple Tips After Child's Body Found
    May 16, 2011: Child's Body Found Along Remote Road