12-Year-Old Boy Found Dead in Dumpster

The West Philadelphia community is reeling from the shocking discovery of a 12-year-old boy’s body in a dumpster last week. The boy, now identified as Hezekiah Bernard, was found with a fatal gunshot wound to his head. His body was wrapped in plastic and discarded, as per the police reports released last Thursday.

The body of a young male was initially discovered on the morning of August 23 in a trash can at a public housing complex at 55th and Cherry Streets. However, it took authorities nearly a week to identify the victim as a child. The identification was confirmed on Tuesday by Staff Inspector Ernest Ransom, who leads the Philadelphia Police Department’s Homicide Unit.

The cause of Bernard’s death has been officially ruled as a homicide. During a news conference, Ransom revealed that a Housing Authority sanitation worker discovered Bernard’s remains. An autopsy report indicated that the boy had been dead for 24 to 36 hours before his body was found. Interestingly, Bernard had not been reported missing in the weeks leading up to the discovery.

Known as “Hezzy” to his friends and family, Bernard was originally from North Philadelphia but had recently moved to the West Philadelphia area, according to his sister, Lovier Jolly. The family, still grappling with their loss, declined to comment on Thursday.

The circumstances surrounding Bernard’s death remain a mystery. Ransom stated that it was not known where the boy was killed, who was responsible, or the motive behind the crime. The body was discovered when a sanitation worker was returning a trash container to Cherry Street and it tipped over, revealing the body. Despite an autopsy, investigators were initially unable to identify the victim. Bernard’s relatives were able to confirm his identity after detectives distributed fliers in West Philadelphia.