SALEM, Ind. (AP) — A young boy found dead inside a suitcase in a heavily wooded area of southern Indiana was laid to rest Wednesday following a memorial service in which a police chaplain called the unidentified child an “unknown angel.”
Mourners gathered at the Weathers Funeral Home in Salem, Indiana, for Wednesday morning’s service. The child’s gray casket was topped by a floral arrangement and stuffed animals.
Todd Murphy, the chaplain for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, said donations from local residents and businesses paid for the funeral. The child remains unidentified more than a month and a half after his body was discovered by a mushroom hunter in Washington County.
“We’re not here today to answer these questions, even if we could. We’re here to mourn,” Murphy told mourners who filled a room for the service.
“This unknown angel has been adopted and beloved by the Washington County community, so Angel is what we will call him for the service today,” he added.
The boy was later buried at a cemetery in Salem, a city about 35 miles (55 kilometers) north of Louisville, Kentucky, with a gravestone marker bearing the image of an angel and an inscription that reads: “In loving memory of a beloved little boy known but to God.”
His body was found on April 16 inside a hard suitcase emblazoned with a distinctive Las Vegas design on its front and back. Investigators believe the child, who was Black, was about 5 years old and had died within the previous week.
Investigators have checked a national database for missing children but have found no match, Indiana State Police said.
An autopsy found that the boy died from an electrolyte imbalance most likely due to gastroenteritis, or vomiting and diarrhea that led to dehydration, state police said.
Police have created a special tip line for people to share information about the child, 1-888-437-6432.