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Police ID 12-year-old boy found in West Philadelphia dumpster

12-year-old Hezekiah Bernard found dead inside dumpster in West Philadelphia
12-year-old Hezekiah Bernard found dead inside dumpster in West Philadelphia 03:10

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The body of a 12-year-old who was found in a dumpster on a Philadelphia Housing Authority property has been identified as Hezekiah Bernard, police said Thursday.

Police said Bernard was found in a trash can in the rear of a PHA dump truck last week at 56th and Cherry Streets in West Philadelphia.

The manner of death is homicide, according to police. Investigators said Bernard had been shot once in the head. His body was wrapped in a comforter, his head in plastic.

Last week, investigators initially told CBS News Philadelphia the body was that of a man in his 20s. But on Wednesday night, police sources revealed that those human remains were actually Bernard.

Police, in the last few days, passed out flyers with a description of the 12-year-old.

Investigators say his family then contacted homicide detectives and made a positive identification.

Staff Inspector Ernest Ransom explained a trash truck made a pickup the night before Bernard was discovered.

"They take it to their facility at 5500 Haverford," Ransom said. "Now they go back to fill it up with more trash at the time on the way back to that location, the trash container flipped over and that's when they discovered the victim's remains and they immediately notified police."

Police say they believe Bernard died between 24 to 36 hours before he was discovered. They didn't say where he was killed.

Family of the young man declined an interview request as they were busy planning his final arrangements. 

But neighbors, none of whom would show their face on camera out of fear, were disgusted, some outraged at news of the 12-year-old's murder.

Police vowed to find those responsible.

"Like any parent, it hurts to see a young man or woman dead on the street at the prime of your life," Ransom said. "That's why it's so important to bring these people to justice."

Sources told CBS News Philadelphia's investigators have not identified any suspects in Bernard's killing.

If you know anything about Bernard's case, police are asking you to contact them at 215-686-TIPS. 

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