Local News

Reward Offered to Identify Remains Found in 1998

Posted February 5, 2008

— Orange County authorities on Tuesday announced a reward for information that would help them identify the remains of a boy found near Mebane almost a decade ago.

The Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation put up a $5,000 reward to help generate leads in the case, Orange County Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass said.

The skeletal remains were found on Sept. 25, 1998, near the Buckhorn Road exit off Interstate 40/85 by a worker mowing under a highway billboard. The billboard was on Industrial Drive, which parallels the southbound lanes of the interstate.

An autopsy determined the remains belonged to a white or Hispanic boy who appeared to be about 10 years old. He was about 4 feet, 11 inches tall and had dark brown hair about 3 to 4 inches long. White boys briefs, Polo-brand khaki shorts with a rider-and-horse emblem embroidered on cuff of a leg, white athletic socks and a pair of size 3 black-and-white athletic shoes with the brand “2XS” or “ZXS” were found on the remains.

"The clothing would indicate the child was well dressed, and he had some dental work. Someone cared for the child," said Capt. Bobby Collins, of the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities said the body could have been under the billboard for up to five months before it was found. No cause of death was ever determined, but investigators have long suspected foul play in the boy's death, noting he probably was killed elsewhere and was placed there to hide his death.

If someone dumped the boy's body, investigators said, it's unlikely they stopped along the highway because there's a barrier fence off the side of I-40/85.  The person would have had to exit at Buckhorn Road and then turn onto Industrial Drive before carrying the boy 76 feet to the clearing under the billboard, authorities said.

Bruce Crisp, who lives up the street from where the remains were found, said he hoped someone would eventually tell investigators who the child was and why he was left there.

"You would think somebody would have, but nobody ever did," Crisp said.

The boy's description has been listed in a national crime database for years, but Pendergrass said his investigators have had no success in determining the boy's identity and have received no reports of missing children that match of his description or time of death.

The proximity of the interstate could mean whoever is responsible for the boy's death came from miles away, Collins said. Investigators hope the reward and exposure offered by the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation will help generate leads in the case, he said.

"The identity of this child itself would be a huge step in resolving this case," he said, noting Orange County authorities tried for a year before getting the foundation to assist with the case.

The Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation was established following the kidnapping and death of Sund, one of three women sightseers found slain near Yosemite National Park in February 1999. While the women were missing, Carole Sund’s parents, Francis and Carole Carrington, posted rewards both for their safe return and for information leading to the whereabouts of their rental car.

Since then, the foundation has paid more than $3.2 million in rewards in hundreds of missing persons cases and unsolved violent crimes, and the tips the rewards generated helped locate 135 missing people and led to arrests in more than 300 homicide cases.

There are 48 missing or unidentified people in North Carolina, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, including the boy and the body of a woman found off I-40 near the New Hope Church Road exit in Orange County in 1990. The woman was 15 to 21 years old, had strawberry-blonde hair and was 5 feet, 3 inches tall, authorities said.

Anyone with information in either Orange County case is asked to call Sheriff's Investigator Tim Horne at 919-644-3050 or 919-942-6300 the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation at 1-888-813-8389.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • nghtstarz2 Feb 6, 2008

    Just because he was wearing Polo does not mean anything about his family. You can find Polo and other such brands at the Goodwill Store. He also could have been dressed that way by the person who had him, even if that person was a stranger. People found on the side of the highway could be from anywhere. It would be great if a forensic pathologist could study the remains, which may already have occurred, and determine more information.

  • ScreenNameNotInUse Feb 6, 2008

    The kid was not Hispanic. The clothes give that away. Going on the assumption that he is Caucasian I would be looking for a second body along I85. My hunch would be that the kid was killed out of anger against the mother and that she was also a victim. Why else would a ten year old kid go missing for so many years without anyone reporting it? You have to add the pieces together on this one to include your biggest clue - the fact that the kid was supposedly not reported missing. His clothes are the second clue. If we are talking about Polo brand clothing here, especially the type mentioned in this story, that is a statement about the parent, not the kid, given the kid's age. The child was killed by a man, be it his father or the boyfriend. Either way, he or what he represented got in the killer's way. I suspect he got in Dad's way, via child support, and that you have second body out there somewhere. You need to work this profile a bit more, but there are answers. Study the clothing.

  • houndie Feb 5, 2008

    I can't imagine there not being a match after this many years especially being on a National register. I wonder if his parents may be deceased.

  • lawpirate is still around Feb 5, 2008

    Man, ya'll will find any reason to start a debate about illegals. Chances are this child was from somewhere far away from Orange Co. He might very well have been reported missing and the 2 links between missing and found haven't been put together yet.

  • Adelinthe Feb 5, 2008

    He was relatively well dressed and had dental work. That shows someone somewhere cared for him.

    Could they too be dead then?

    Praying for the poor nameless waif and for those who once loved him.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • At Work Feb 5, 2008

    Everyone says that this child was not reported missing whos to say he was not from another state and killed here? Or whos to say that he was from mexico or peru etc. and was reported missing but the cops were not looking in the right place for him. Remeber that thousands of kids go missing daily and they are not even sure when he was killed so they may not have a good time frame to search missing children.

  • oldrebel Feb 5, 2008

    For those who have expressed surprise that this child hasn't been turned in as missing, go to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and look at the listing of 48 young people as I write this. Those mute faces, most of them smilking with no foreknowledge of what was to befall them, is enough to make you weep for the rest of the day.

  • aoakley336 Feb 5, 2008

    I have a feeling that he may have been hispanic. Since he was never reported missing, his caretakers obviously had something to do wit this, and you would think that if he were a child born here that he would've been missing at school or somewhere. I think whoever brought him here was an illegal, never enrolled the child in school or anything of that sort here, therefore nobody probably knew him but his parents, who were responsible for the crime.

  • Shadow213 Feb 5, 2008

    Very horrible, I agree. But I do think that perhaps the reason we haven't heard anything about this is because he was here illegally (parents/garudian here illegally too) so it'd make sense why no one would step up and say anything.

  • pdl Feb 5, 2008

    Not knowing the cause of death makes this even tougher. Could the child have been from the area near where his body was found ? Was he close enough to the bill-board that he may have fallen from it and was killed in the fall. Many kids climb up on bill-boards to play.Did the local law inforcement canvas the area really good. Somebody knows about this and they will talk eventually.