A 2-year-old child found dead in the Oregon mountains has finally been identified after 58 years.
On July 11, 1963, a man fishing at Keene Creek Reservoir snagged what appeared to be a bundle of blankets, according to Portland’s KOIN 6 News. Inside was the fully clothed body of a boy, whose identity had since remained a mystery.
Someone had bound the boy in wire and attempted to weigh the body down, according to KOBI 5 News of southern Oregon.
Dubbed by local media as the “Boy in A Bundle,” the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office announced last Monday that the boy was actually Stevie Crawford, a missing child from New Mexico.
Until now, it was Oregon’s oldest unidentified missing persons case, according to a press release by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
“We are not interested in prosecuting this case,” Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Det. Fagan told KOIN 6 in 2009. “We have a responsibility to identify the unidentified remains, and that’s what this case is all about.”
The child was buried at Medford’s Hillside Cemetery beneath a headstone that read, “Baby Doe, known only to God.”
In 2007, Fagan uncovered “11 paper boxes marked ‘old sheriff cases,’” according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. Fagan asked special investigator Jim Tattersall to assist in sifting through the files when he stumbled on the case of then-unidentified Stevie Crawford.
“I feel we are very fortunate in this day in age that we have DNA databases and samplings because without it, we wouldn’t have found out about Stevie,” Tattersall told Oxygen.com.
Tattersall, since retired, explained that the unidentified boy’s case was the only one in the box that had not been closed.
“Nobody knew about it. There was no record of it. Everything we had on that case was in that file,” Tattersall continued.
He explained why he thought the case had gone unsolved.
“The case kind of went cold quickly because it was right around the time of Kennedy’s assassination,” Tattersall told Oxygen.com. “There were a lot of other priorities in the country at that time. I hate to say this, but it kind of slipped through the cracks.”
The Sheriff Office’s press release said they drew DNA from the boy’s body in August of 2008.
“The tiny body was exhumed from his resting place … and a DNA sample was taken. This lead also went cold when the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) returned no matches,” it stated.
According to KOIN 6, the DNA sample was taken from the boy’s femur.
When no DNA results were returned, there the case of Baby Doe remained at a standstill until a recent tip came through to the Sheriff’s Office’s through Facebook Messenger. The details of the information, however, were not made public.
Sheriff Nate Sickler contacted the medical examiner, and with the help of Oregon State Police’s human identification program coordinator Dr. Nici Vance, they submitted the boy’s DNA to Parabon NanoLabs.
The sample was processed using phenotyping and genetic genealogy, and a match was made to two potential siblings, one of them, a half-brother located in Ohio.
The half-brother, who shared the same mother with the unidentified child, told police that he had a younger brother with Down syndrome who disappeared from New Mexico.
“Upon further investigation, a birth certificate was discovered, and after 58 years, the Keene Creek Baby Doe had a name,” the Sheriff’s Office continued. “Stevie Crawford, born 10-2-1960.”
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Det. Colin Fagan, who has also since retired, shared his gratitude.
“To have a case that we’re able to bring a story back to life. To reunite him with his family and ancestors, I think this is just important and very satisfying,” Fagan told KOBI 5 News.
Authorities have not officially confirmed whether Stevie’s death is being looked into as a homicide.