The body of a 12-year-old Philadelphia boy wrapped in plastic was found last week in a dumpster, police said Thursday.
The victim, identified as Hezekiah Bernard, was discovered by a sanitation employee with the Philadelphia Housing Authority on Aug. 23 in the 5500 block of Cherry Street.
"Mr. Bernard was 12 years old," Philadelphia Police Staff Inspector Ernest Ransom said during a news conference. "He was brutally killed and placed in a trash can. The focus of this investigation is the swift apprehension of those involved in this senseless death."
On Aug. 22, a sanitation worker with the Philadelphia Housing Authority moved a plastic trash container placed inside his truck and took it to a PHA facility where it was kept overnight. The next day, that same employee took the container back to the same spot on Cherry Street where it was found to collect more trash.
During the drive, the container flipped over and Bernard's body was discovered. His head had been wrapped in plastic and a comforter had been placed over him.
The boy's body was taken to the Medical Examiner's Office, where officials determined his death was a homicide after being shot following an autopsy. He is estimated to have died 24 to 36 before he was discovered.
Initially, authorities had trouble identifying Bernard.
On Tuesday, homicide investigators canvassed the area around Cherry Street and handed out fliers with the boy's description of what he was wearing. That same day, members of Bernard's family saw the fliers and later identified the body.
Authorities believe the boy was under the care of the Department of Human Services. No suspects have been identified.