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  • Nobody's Child

    45 years later, a new attempt will be made to solve a nagging mystery: Who was the little boy discovered dead in Keene Creek Reservoir?
  • 45 years later, a new attempt will be made to solve a nagging mystery: Who was the little boy discovered dead in Keene Creek Reservoir?
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    • How to help
      Anyone who knows
      anything about this case is asked to call the
      sheriff's department's
      tip line at 774-8333.
      Tips can be anonymous.
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      How to help
      Anyone who knows

      anything about this case is asked to call the

      sheriff's department's

      tip line at 774-8333.

      Tips can be anonymous.
  • Investigators and funeral directors gather on the lush green lawn of Hillcrest Memorial Park as a workman's shovel cuts through the turf.
    In a row of children's graves marked by bronze and concrete plaques from the mid-1960s, this patch of grass bears no memorial.
    On July 23, 1963, the body of a toddler pulled from Keene Creek Reservoir earlier that month by a fisherman but never identified was put to rest there in a plastic casket, at a cost of $144 to Jackson County.
    Jackson County Sheriff's Department investigators hope that now, 45 years after the unidentified toddler was buried at the cemetery on Medford's eastern edge, they can determine who this little boy was, and maybe even what happened to him.
    They've read old reports and tracked down colleagues who worked in the Rogue Valley decades ago to see what they could remember about the case, but have come up with nothing. On Friday, they exhumed the tiny body to tap the latest technology — DNA testing and facial reconstruction from the skull.
    They are sharing the story with the public in hopes of sparking memories that might still hold a vital clue.
    "We owe it to this little boy to get him identified and to connect him to his family," said Jackson County Sheriff Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan, one of a team of investigators that has rejuvenated the case, which had languished in the county archives.
    Eleven paper boxes marked "old sheriff cases" were uncovered in the archives last year and Fagan asked special investigator Jim Tattersall to sort through them to see whether there were any that needed to be followed up or entered into computer databases.
    Tattersall retired from a career in law enforcement and private security and has helped investigators at the sheriff's department a few days a week since 2004. He pitches in on tasks, like this one, that the busy detectives just can't get to.
    He paged through reams of case reports — burglaries, stolen cars, "a lot of suicides, a few homicides," a whole variety of felonies. And one about a little boy with no name.
    "All of them had a conclusion," he said. "But this one just stopped."
    It started July 11, 1963.
    Roy Roberts, a Rogue River man who worked at the Green Springs Lumber Co., was fishing in Keene Creek Reservoir along Highway 66 in the mountains east of Ashland with his wife and two co-workers on a Thursday evening when he hooked what he thought was a blanket roll.
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