Child Erased

In 1951, a little boy was found dead in Goochland County, Virginia. And that was just the beginning of this tragedy that continues today

Dale M. Brumfield
17 min readMar 6, 2021


This story was updated on 12/09/2022 to reflect a few new developments in this case. These updates are inserted in their appropriate locations in the story.

If you have any information about this case, please email Dale Brumfield at

SEVENTY YEARS AGO, ON MARCH 5, 1951, the decomposed body of an estimated five-year-old boy was found stuffed in a blue denim army duffel bag just south of U.S. 250 near Oilville Virginia, about 26 miles west of Richmond. This little boy was never identified. His mode of death was never publicly divulged. Unbelievably, he was never reported missing and his body never claimed.

Today, his identity and death remain shrouded in secrecy.

On that cloudy and chilly March morning, Virginia highway employees were cleaning litter from ditches along State Route 670, which runs south from State Route 250 near Oilville to Crozier. At about 8:30 a.m., an employee, Richard Salmon, discovered about 15 feet from the road in a stand of young pine trees a blue army-style sack with what appeared to be the head of a young boy protruding from it.

FBI photo, with face pixilated. FBI Law Enforcement Journal, May 1951

Alarmed at the discovery, he called his supervisor, who in turn called Goochland Sheriff Joel Powers. Powers and state trooper E. M. Lloyd arrived and initiated an investigation with Commonwealth’s Attorney J. C. Knibb. They in turn concluded that the boy had been dead about a week, then maybe lay in the bag by the road two or three days. They also determined due to the location that although the body showed no signs of trauma, the boy had most likely been killed elsewhere and transported to the area. Oddly, they also found a well-worn woman’s raincoat inside the bag with the body.

The boy was described as being between four and six years old, with reddish-blond hair and a fair complexion. He was three feet, five inches tall, and estimated to weigh 50 to 55 pounds premortem. He was…



Dale M. Brumfield

Anti-death penalty advocate, cultural archaeologist, “American Grotesk” historyteller and author of 12 books. More at