SALEM, Ind. – They didn’t know his name or what brought him to Indiana.
But they wanted him to know, in death, he hasn’t been forgotten.
Mourners gathered Wednesday for a memorial service in Salem, Indiana, for the “unknown angel” whose identity remains elusive.
Chaplain Todd Murphy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said donations from local residents and businesses covered the expenses. Flowers and stuffed animals were placed atop the boy’s casket.
The little boy, believed to be 5 years old, was found by a mushroom hunter in Washington County in April. His body had been placed inside a distinctive Las Vegas suitcase. Last week, investigators revealed he died due to “electrolyte imbalance” most likely from “a viral gastroenteritis.”
The boy is a Black male, approximately four feet tall with a slim build and short hair.
But the mystery of his death was not what brought mourners to Weathers Funeral Home. They wanted to honor his life and grieve as a community.
And although no one knows the little boy’s name, Murphy gave him one: “Angel.”
“This unknown angel has been beloved by Washington County,” the chaplain said. “So ‘Angel’ is what we will call him.”
“Look at what Angel has done for our community,” said Sgt. Matt Hein, among the first to respond at the scene in April. “We never knew him in life, but he has drawn us together with love and kindness.”
Angel was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Salem with a marker bearing the image of an angel and the inscription, “In loving memory of a beloved little boy known but to God. Asleep in the arms of Jesus.”
Police have set up a special tip line at 1-888-437-6432 for information about the case.