October 8, 2005
Naperville, Illinois
The body of a toddler is found discarded in a laundry bag

A man walking his dog found a blue canvas laundry bag which the dog seemed interested in. Upon opening the canvas bag, the man found the badly decomposed remains of a small child, and police were immediately notified.

The boy’s body was too far decomposed for facial recognition or to conclusively determine a cause of death; the latter still remains unknown. It was estimated he had died as recently as several weeks — or as long as a full year — before his discovery. Police released forensic composites of how the toddler appeared in life in the hopes someone would recognize him. No loved ones stepped forward to claim the child’s body, and he was laid to rest with a headstone reading simply “Son. Unknown — but not forgotten” with the date of his body’s discovery.

A few years later, Karina Olmedo reported to her teacher that she and her siblings were beaten often by their stepfather. The children were take into protective custody and Karina asked one of the police officers about her younger brother, Atcel, whom she had not seen in years. She had been told by her mother he was living with his biological father in Mexico, but in 2006 she was told by her stepfather’s mother that Atcel had been murdered. Karina also mentioned she and her siblings were beaten if they spoke Atcel’s name. Her DNA was compared to that of the young John Doe, resulting in a conclusive match.

Police attempted to question Atcel’s parents regarding his death, as well as other unrelated crimes, but found they had fled; it is suspected they returned to their native Mexico. Atcel’s headstone is now engraved with his name, and his case remains open.

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