Police seek identity of boy found dead

Editor's note: The image at the start of this video is a computer generated image released by the Maine State Police showing the likeness of a young boy found dead along a remote road in South Berwick, Maine.
Associated Press / May 16, 2011

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SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Officials were looking for a navy blue Toyota Tacoma pickup truck that may be related to the discovery of the body of a young boy found Saturday along a remote road in southern Maine, police said yesterday.

Officials were working last night to identify the child, who was 3 feet, 8 inches tall, weighed 45 pounds, and is believed to have been between 4 and 6 years old. He had dark-blond hair and blue eyes. There were no missing-person reports filed for a boy fitting the description.

“The only way we’re going to be able to identify him is if someone recognizes him and calls,’’ said State Police Sergeant Chris Harriman.

Police set up a command post, began talking to local residents, and released a computer-generated photo of the child. They also released details of the vehicle in question, which had an extended cab, full cap over the bed, and white license plates, though the state is unknown, a dispatcher for the Maine State Police said yesterday.

Yesterday detectives were at the spot where the body was found, along a dirt road off Route 4 outside of South Berwick, around 5 p.m. Saturday, said Steve McCausland of the Maine Public Safety Department.

The body was found by a local resident who saw a blanket at the end of a driveway. When the unidentified woman went to investigate, she found the body, Harriman said.

Bruce and Laurie Ralph, who live less than a mile from where the body was found, said the area is quiet and very dark at night because there are no streetlights.

Laurie Ralph said it was disturbing to be told of the body being found.

“I didn’t sleep at all last night,’’ she said.

Today, police plan to collect and examine videos from cameras at local stores and highways, including the Maine Turnpike, that might turn up information.

An autopsy was being conducted yesterday afternoon, but officials did not expect a cause or manner of death to be released immediately.

Police said earlier in the day that the investigation could not begin in earnest until the boy is identified, allowing investigators to talk to parents and others who knew him, McCausland said.

“The first priority is to identify the boy,’’ said McCausland.

State Police alerted agencies across New England and notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in hope of getting information about the boy.

The boy was wearing a gray camouflage hooded sweatshirt with the brand name Faded Glory, tan pants, and black sneakers, McCausland said.

He had no information on where the child’s body was found, other than beside the road.