Texas cops took the unusual step of releasing a photo of a dead child’s face in hopes of identifying the little boy and finding out what happened to him.
The body of “Little Jacob,” as he is being called, was found three months ago on a Galveston beach. The boy, believed to be 3 or 4, was found unclothed.
No family or friends have come forward to claim or identify the child. Investigators have made little progress, even after a police sketch artist drew a portrait of the boy that was widely released to media outlets.
The Galveston Police Department posted the photo of “Little Jacob” on its Twitter and Facebook accounts on Tuesday with warnings.
The photo of the boy remained on Facebook with the warning, “this photo may show graphic violence or gore.” Users were told to click the “uncover photo” option to see the image.
Cops mulled for weeks whether to release the photo and conferred with the FBI, family services and other agencies, Capt. Josh Schirard said.
“Originally there was some mixed feelings between some of the parties,” he said. “All of the parties agreed it was necessary.”
Schirard said he was surprised that many of the local TV news outlets used the photo on the air.
Cops provided a warning on social media about the photo.
“We are not here to please people,” Schirard said. “We are not here to put out great news all the time. We are here to solve cases. We are here to uphold the law. We are here to give closure to what’s going on. We are here to hold people accountable.”
The photo of the child released Tuesday was edited slightly to remove signs of decomposition, according to cops. To see the photo, click here.
“We’re here to make the decisions not everyone wants to make, to exhaust all possibilities,” Schirard said. “We’ve gotten some people less than pleased with the decision to do this.”
It’s extremely rare for authorities to release a photo of a dead child. Ten years ago, cops in the Galveston area released a composite sketch of a girl nicknamed Baby Grace, and relatives were able to identify the child just days later. The mother and stepfather of little Riley Ann Sawyers were later convicted of capital murder.
Cops had previously said that “Little Jacob” weighed about 30 pounds. An autopsy showed previous signs of neglect and injuries “consistent with abuse.” Investigators believe he was dead before his body was dumped in the water.
The autopsy found that the boy had died around Oct. 17 or 18.
The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for “the successful identification and location of the family members,” Galveston cops said. Anyone with information on “Little Jacob” should contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.