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Texas authorities take rare step, releasing photo of dead child found on beach in hopes of identifying him

February 2, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Texas authorities take rare step, releasing photo of dead child found on beach in hopes of identifying him

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Texas authorities took the unexpected step of releasing a photo of a dead boy’s face in hopes of identifying the child and discovered what happened to him.

The remains of “Little Jacob,” as he is being referred to, were discovered three months ago on a beach in Galveston. The boy, who was believed to be 3- or 4-years old, was unclothed.

No relatives or friends have come forward to claim or identify the boy. Detectives have not made much progress, even after a sketch artist drew a portrait of the boy that was released to press outlets.

The Galveston Police Department posted the picture of “Little Jacob” on Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday.

The picture of the child was posted on Facebook with the warning, “this photo may show graphic violence or gore.” People were told to click the “uncover photo” option to see the picture.

“I don’t see anything wrong with it,” former NYPD Sergeant Joseph Giacalone said to the New York Daily News on Wednesday. “It’s the first step. You have to hope you have a couple of other things in play.”

Giacalone, who is an adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former member of the Bronx cold case squad, said he could not remember another example where a dead child’s image was posted. However, he says police are trying to do the right thing.

“I don’t look at it a desperate, I look at it as a lead they wouldn’t get otherwise,” Giacalone, who served in the NYPD for 21 years, said

Galveston officer deliberated for weeks about whether to release the picture and talked with the FBI, family services, and other agencies, Captain Josh Schirard revealed.

“Originally, there were mixed feelings between some of the parties,” he added. “All of the parties agreed it was necessary.”

Schirard said he was surprised that local TV outlets used the picture on the air.

“We are not here to please,” Schirard continued. “We are not here to put out great news all the time. We are here to solve cases, to uphold the law, to give closure to what’s going on. We are here to hold people accountable.”

The photo of the child published Tuesday was slightly edited to remove signs of decomposition.

Twitter rules state that it “will remove imagery of deceased individuals in certain circumstances” to respect the wishes of family members. The social media company considers public interest factors such as the “newsworthiness of the content” when examining removal requests.

It’s rare for authorities to release a picture of a dead child. Ten years ago, police in the Galveston area released a composite sketch of a girl who was called Baby Grace, and family members were able to identify the child days later. The mother and stepfather of Riley Ann Sawyers were later found guilty of capital murder.

Police had previously said that “Little Jacob” weighed roughly 30 pounds. An autopsy revealed previous signs of neglect and injuries “consistent with abuse.” Detectives believe he was dead before his body was left in the water.

The autopsy also noted that the boy had died around October 17th or 18th.

The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for “identification and location of the family members.”

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