by Sarah Fenske
An 18-month-old south-city boy, reported missing by his family earlier this morning, was found dead in a trash bin near the family's home, according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
The little boy's body was found at 6:45 a.m. in a trash bin near the intersection of South Jefferson Avenue and Shenandoah, in the city's McKinley Heights neighborhood. His family had reported him missing at 6:15 a.m.
According to the police department, the cause of death has not been determined. "Investigators are interviewing family members in order to gather more information about when the child was first discovered to be missing and if anyone saw/heard anything prior to discovering the child was missing. Police are also interviewing neighbors to determine if anyone saw/heard anything in the area."
If the little boy's death is, in fact, ruled a homicide, it would be (by our unscientific count) the 51st murder in the city of St. Louis this year.
If this pace holds, that means we're on pace for fewer murders this year than last. There were 144 homicides in St. Louis last year and 143 the year before; statistically, at this rate, we're on pace for 122.
But that number could escalate as deaths from earlier this year are investigated and ruled as homicides. Or if the summer months bring escalating violence; some studies have linked warm weather to an increase in violent crime.
And the lower numbers so far this year are surely cold comfort to anyone with a murdered love one. One hundred twenty-two murders is way too many. One hundred murders would be way too many. And there's nothing sadder than the death of a very young child, like this little boy.
The little boy's name is being withheld at this point. We'll have more on this tragic story as it develops.