GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — Police released a photo Tuesday of a still-unidentified boy whose dead body washed ashore three months ago in Galveston.
Investigators made the unusual move in hopes of generating new leads after hundreds of other tips have not provided answers. Previously, a police sketch artist drew a portrait of the boy that was widely released in news outlets, on billboards from Texas to Kentucky and through national missing children’s foundations.
Police spokesman Josh Schirard says investigators didn’t take lightly their decision to release the photo of the boy’s face taken shortly after he was found washed ashore Oct. 20. He says it was edited slightly to remove signs of decomposition to make it easier for the public to see.
“We’ve exhausted all of the other things we can do. This was not up there with anything anyone wanted to do or would have chosen to do in any other instance,” Schirard said at a news conference Tuesday.
Police had released a few physical characteristics of the boy previously: he weighed about 30 pounds and was 3 or 4 years old. They added that an autopsy showed previous signs of neglect and abuse, although they would not elaborate.
Detective Jeff Banks said the boy did not have water in his lungs, meaning police believe the boy they’ve named “Little Jacob” was dead before his body was dumped in the water. But an autopsy did not give police a definitive cause of death because there was not a physical injury or signs of an illness that would have been fatal, he said.
Schirard said the department worked with the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Weather Service to use drift analysis, which determined that the boy’s body had been placed in the water locally between 12 and 48 hours before he was found, likely east of that location given the tide. He said the autopsy showed the boy had died around Oct. 17 or 18.
The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the family or caregiver of the boy.
This is the second time in a decade the beach community is working to identify a child whose body was found on its shores.
It took only a few days after police released a composite sketch nationally for a relative to identify the little girl nicknamed Baby Grace whose body was found in late October 2007 by a fisherman on the beach of an uninhabited island off the coast of Galveston. The mother and stepfather of 2-year-old Riley Ann Sawyers were convicted of capital murder in her beating death.