SOUTH BERWICK — He was wearing a gray camouflage hoodie, tan pants and black sneakers adorned with the character Lightning McQueen from the Disney movie “Cars.” He had blue eyes and dirty blond hair, and he was covered by a blanket.
But police still do not know the name of a boy whose body was found over the weekend alongside a dirt road by resident who lived nearby. His age was estimated to be between 4 to 6 years old.
Two days after the startling discovery, state police detectives had investigated about 100 leads from northern Maine to as far away as the Midwest but hadn’t had any luck in identifying the boy.
“We’re pleading to the public to help us identify this boy,” said Col. Robert Williams, state police chief. “Somebody out there knows who this boy is.”
In addition to checking out tips, state police were reviewing surveillance video from businesses on both sides of the Maine-New Hampshire state line, as well as looking for a blue Toyota Tacoma pickup that was spotted in the area where the body was discovered.
Investigators believe the boy died a couple of hours before his body was placed along the road Saturday morning; he was discovered around 5 p.m., said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
The death was deemed suspicious, but investigators withheld autopsy findings. Identifying the boy is a key step to moving the investigation forward.
Tips began pouring in after investigators released a computer-generated depiction of the boy on Sunday. By Monday, however, his identity remained a mystery.
“Everybody in New England knows the boy’s face. Now we need a name to go with the face,” McCausland said.
The same person who found the body also reported the blue pickup truck, said state police Lt. Brian McDonough.
While expressing frustration with the difficulties in identifying the boy, McDonough said he was confident that state police were handling the case by the books and that someone would eventually report him missing.
State Police Sgt. Chris Harriman said the boy appeared to be healthy and cared for before his death. He was 3 feet, 8 inches tall and weighed 45 pounds.
Police hoped the boy would be missed at school, kindergarten or pre-school, but that didn’t happen Monday.
Neighbors, meanwhile, were unnerved by the death in this town that borders New Hampshire.
Lorraine Tuttle, who lives on a farm 300 yards from the site where the boy was found, said neighbors love the peace and quiet. It was unsettling to have dozens of police cars and television news trucks on their road.
“I’m very upset about the loss of such a young life,” she said. “No one wants to have something like that happen in their neighborhood. It does change your life one way or another.”