Local News

Young boy's death stays mystery for over a decade

Posted March 13, 2011 1:45 p.m. EDT

— Mystery still surrounds the death of a young boy whose body was discovered 12 years ago in Orange County. His identity hasn't been discovered – much less, those of his killers.

On Sept. 25, 1998, a worker mowing grass made an unusual, and gruesome, discovery: the skeleton of a 10-year-old boy.

The boy's body was under a billboard on Industrial Drive, a service road that parallels Interstate 85 South near the Buckhorn Road exit in Mebane.

"It's got a lot of traffic in the daytime hours. At nighttime, it's pretty desolate," Tim Horne, an investigator with the Orange County Sheriff's Office, said.

Investigators believe that someone placed the child's body at the edge of the woods, and a medical examiner estimates the child's body was left at the scene about three months earlier.

An autopsy determined the remains belonged to a white or Hispanic boy, about 4 feet, 11 inches tall, with dark brown hair about 3 to 4 inches long.

"When we got there, we actually found the child's socks and shoes, underwear, a pair of shorts," Horne said.

Investigators found 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." He also had evidence of dental sealant on some of his teeth.

They also found $50 neatly folded inside the boy's pocket.

"The average 10-year-old doesn't have $50 in their pocket. That was unusual," Horne said.

He said a stranger element in the case, though, is that no one ever reported a missing child or came forward to claim the boy's remains.

"Someone's going to miss a child," said Horne.

"If a child died of natural causes – whatever the cause may have been – someone's going to report that child missing," he added. "There's going to be some kind of record, and we haven't got that."

Investigators do not know what happened to the boy, but they believe foul play was involved. With new DNA technology, they hope the case can be solved.

"A 10-year-old doesn't disappear normally, and no one reports it," Horne said.

Anyone with information about Boy Doe, found in Mebane in September 1998, can call NC Wanted's tipline at 1-866-439-2683 or .