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Mass. Police Questioning Woman About Maine Body

This article is more than 12 years old.

Police in Massachusetts on Wednesday were questioning a woman in the investigation of a young boy whose body was found along a dirt road in Maine.

The body was discovered Saturday in South Berwick, a town on the New Hampshire border, and police have labeled his death suspicious. In trying to determine his identity, investigators issued a computer-enhanced image depicting a boy with blond hair and blue eyes. Authorities believe he was 4 to 6 years old.

The woman was taken into custody Wednesday at a highway rest stop in Chelmsford and was being questioned in Concord but hasn't been arrested, Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio said.

A pickup towed from the rest stop is registered to Julianne McCrery, of Irving, Texas. A phone listing for her couldn't immediately be located.

In Maine, state police Lt. Brian McDonough told reporters that detectives were investigating new information but referred all questions to Deputy Attorney General William Stokes. Stokes, who coordinates homicide investigations in Maine, told The Associated Press that he couldn't comment.

Investigators have fielded more than 200 tips since the boy's body was found. Police also conducted DNA tests on the body, released a detailed photo of the boy's sneakers and notified Interpol.

It's extremely unusual for a missing child to go unreported. Similar cases happened only twice over the past two years, said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

"In the vast, vast majority of these, there's someone, a parent or grandparent, searching for that child," Allen said Wednesday.

In April 2010, the body of a 6-year-old boy was discovered near a lake in north Texas and his grandmother was eventually charged with murder; in May 2009, a 3-year-old boy's body was found buried at a playground in Albuquerque, N.M., and his mother was eventually charged with killing him.

In both cases, family members failed to report the boys missing.

"In cases where children are murdered or disposed of, typically the perpetrator is the one who should be reporting the child missing," Allen said.

In Maine, the case has led to an outpouring of emotion. Several hundred people attended a candlelight vigil in the boy's memory Tuesday night in front of the South Berwick town hall.

Near where the boy was found, people have placed three crosses, dozens of stuffed animals, candles, flowers, a baseball and other children's items. A framed piece of paper says, "God Bless This Little Boy."
Bruce and Laurie Ralph, who live down the street from where the body was found, placed a stuffed animal on the site.

"The whole community has come together and has feelings for this boy, who nobody seems to know who he is," Laurie Ralph said Wednesday as she and her husband visited the site. "You hear of missing children all the time, but when it happens in your hometown - and on your own street - it's scarier."

This program aired on May 18, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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