DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Investigators hope a new forensic sketch of a boy found deceased in a cemetery, along with renewed publicity surrounding the case, will finally help solve the mystery of the child's identity and cause of death.
February 26 marks the 20-year anniversary of the discovery of a child's remains by a DeKalb County cemetery. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released a new forensic sketch of the boy using the latest technology to produce the best possible likeness of the child.
Investigators nicknamed the child "Dennis." No family members or loved ones have come forward to claim the remains or provide crucial details into how he died.
A podcast also released by "Inside Crime with Angeline Hartmann" on the anniversary cracks open the details of the decades-old mystery, broadcasting interviews of investigators who worked the case decades ago.
Hartmann, a former FOX 5 Atlanta reporter who continued investigating the case with America's Most Wanted and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, was the first reporter on the scene 20 years ago that day.
"From day one, it was heartbreaking to me. We know that the answer is out there," Hartmann said.
February 26, 1999, in the cemetery off Clifton Springs Road, investigators said a gravesite worker preparing for a funeral found the boy lying in a field. The child had been deceased for months and his remains had weathered the elements.
The child wore dark brown Timberland boots, tied with double knots, and donned red jeans and a blue hooded shirt.
There were no signs of foul play at the scene.
Due to the age of the remains, investigators could not determine a cause of death.
Investigators said the child seemed to be "well cared for," considering the careful placement of remains by a cemetery.
Years later, investigators have speculated and theorized that the child may have even fallen ill and the family had chosen not to provide a traditional funeral.
Forensic examinations by the DeKalb County Medical Examiner's Office showed the boy's age ranged from 4 to 7 years old, and the child still had some baby teeth. Further examinations proved the boy hailed from Georgia or the northern Florida area.
A possible crucial clue was unveiled to FOX 5 News in 2001. A distraught woman called investigators to state the name of the child was "Cabel Brown" and the family had visited Florida on a regular basis; the call disconnected shortly afterward.
The call was traced to Cocoa Beach at the Florida Institute of Technology's student center.
Twenty years later, it's even more heartbreaking," Hartmann said, hoping this is the year to finally crack the case. "We're looking for his name," she said.
The boy was estimated to be between 3’10” and 4’2” and weighed around 50 pounds.
Anyone with information is asked to call the DeKalb County Medical Examiner's Office at 404-508-3500. Tipsters who wish to remain anonymous can call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678).