Ten years later, prosecutor still hopes for break in “Precious Joe” mystery

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PLATTE COUNTY, Mo. -- A gruesome, disturbing discovery in 2004 still has investigators scratching their heads. The remains of an infant were found by electrical workers. To this day, he's never been identified, but was given the name 'Precious Joe.'

The Kansas City, Mo. Police cold case squad has exhausted all possible leads, but the Platte County prosecutor is hoping the 10 year anniversary of the boy's discovery will finally lead to a real name.

"This is a case, frankly, that haunts me. I went to the scene, I went to the autopsy, those are images that are burned in my head that I will never forget and I'm hopeful that somebody will help us find out who this little boy is and what happened," explained prosecutor Eric Zahnd.

He is positive someone knows something.

"We don't know that what happened was a crime at all, but we know this, that little boy deserves to rest in peace and the way that can happen is for somebody who knows something to come forward and let us know why this boy was found there," he said.

"Precious Joe" was a white male newborn. He was found by KCP&L workers on April 26, 2004.

"There was an earring found at the scene, there was a Wal-Mart bag found there," said Zahnd.

Investigators at the time, hoped the earring would be the key to the boy' identity and finding out how he ended up on the side of the road near Tiffany Springs Parkway and North Hull, but it wasn't.

The entire landscape of the crime scene has changed over the years. Wooded areas and brush are gone, clearing the way for new home construction. For years, a cross marked the area where the newborn was found, but it's gone now, too.

However, the drive to solve this mystery is not and Zahnd is hoping for a similar resolution to another 'Precious' case.

"Kansas Citians helped us find out what had happened to 'Precious Doe,' that little girl. So we're asking the same thing that we asked then, somebody to come forward and help us with this little boy 'Precious Joe,' help us in the way that you helped us years ago," pleaded Zahnd.

'Precious Doe's' body was found in late April 2001 in a wooded area near 59th and Kennsington in Kansas City. Her head was found a few days later. It was four long years before a man came forward with her name. 'Precious Doe' was really Erica Green. Her mother and stepfather were eventually arrested, charged, convicted and sent to prison.

All Zahnd wants right now is the "Precious Joe's real name. Despite a decade of time passing, he's hoping a memory will come back.

"My guess is there's somebody out there who knows about someone, who maybe was pregnant around 2004 and maybe that baby never came. Or somebody who was acting strangely in that time period," he said.

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