The Boy Under the Billboard
* True-crime documentary seeking finishing funds
Contact Karen Mintz, Director
An investigator’s obsession to identify the skeletal remains of an unidentified child spans two decades. Weeks before his retirement, a DNA breakthrough and a profound twist of fate reveal the unbelievable truth that will alter the lives of one family forever.
SYNOPSIS: The skeletal remains of a child are found along the access road of a North Carolina highway in 1998. For 20 years, he is known only as John Doe #98-21372 -- “the boy under the billboard”. The lead investigator who collected fragments of the child’s skull and bones from the brush is haunted by the case. He’s given up hope that he will ever identify the boy and solve this horrific crime. But weeks from retirement, he gets a message that will forever alter the lives of everyone involved. A text flashes on his phone:
“DNA results in. We found a match.”
THE STORY: On the afternoon of September 25, 1998, Investigator Tim Horne arrives at the crime scene. Under a billboard at the Buckhorn Road Exit of North Carolina Interstate Highway 85 in Mebane, NC, he recovers the scattered remains of a child: a skull, bones, sneakers and bits of clothing. There are no missing children reports and no clues to an identity. For 20 years, he works doggedly to ID the child, but all leads go nowhere.
On the eve of his retirement, a DNA match on Ancestry.com solved the case with a single phone call. Ultimately, Major Tim Horne identified the “boy under the billboard” as Bobby Whitt, uncovered another grisly murder and coaxed a confession from the killer on the final day of his 30-year career.
This is an extremely rare opportunity to witness a cold case solved through genetic genealogy from start to finish. The case was solved with the help of Dr. Barbara Rae-Venter, whose work identified the Golden State Killer. We also have footage of world-renown forensic sculptor Frank Bender creating a bust of the boy just prior to his death death in 2011.
All of these extraordinary events are captured live in this documentary.