Little Lord Fauntleroy: The Unidentified Boy

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On March 8, 1921, a workman named John Brlich discovered the body of a young boy floating in the O’Laughlin Stone Company quarry pond in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Brlich immediately reported the body to Waukesha County Sheriff Clarence Keebler, who contacted the County Coroner, L. F. Lee. Together, Keebler and Lee retrieved the body from the pond.

Upon closer inspection, the boy appeared to be about five years old. He had unkempt blonde hair and brown eyes, and he was wearing a dark grey sweater, black stockings, and patent leather shoes. His outfit was relatively expensive and fancy, leading the police to suspect that he might have been from a wealthy family. This led to his nickname “Little Lord Fauntleroy.”

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The sketch of the boy found via Wikipedia

The coroner discovered a laceration on the boy’s head, suggesting that he had been hit purposely with a blunt object. He also had an unusually miniscule amount of water in his lungs, which was evidence that he had been killed before being thrown into the pond.

Due to the decomposition of the body, it was difficult for police to determine when the boy had died or how long his body had been in the quarry. The quarry pumpman, Mike Koker, reported seeing a young woman in a red sweater wandering around the quarry with a man on February 6th. According to The Lineup, Koker told police that the woman in the red sweater had been crying and asking around if anyone had seen a young boy in the area. After looking briefly at the area in which the body had been found, the two drove off together and were never seen again.

The first theory suggested that the young woman and man had left the boy alone so that they could spend time together and that he had drowned in the pond while he was alone. However, the laceration on his head along with the small amount of water in his lungs suggested he was killed before he was in the pond, so that theory was abandoned.

Page 15 from Waukesha Daily Freeman via Newspapers

No more progress was made in the case until the police heard from David Dobrick, the owner of Liberty Department Store. He told the police that the clothes the boy had been wearing had been sold during a sale in January. Soon after that, the police received another call from J.B. Belson, a man from Chicago who claimed the boy was his sister’s son. He believed the boy had been killed by his sister’s ex-husband, who had apparently kidnapped them and made multiple threats to murder both of her children.

Eventually, these leads fell through. Hundreds of people from the area were called to look at the body, but no one recognized him. Even after a $1,000 reward was offered to anyone with any information or leads, no one spoke up.

Later, Koker reported seeing the woman in the red sweater committing suicide by the quarry pond in which the body had been found. Although the police thoroughly searched for her body, it was never discovered.

little lord fauntleroy

The boy’s gravestone via The Doe Network

Eventually, the police had to bury the boy’s body. A local woman named Minnie Conrad raised money to hold a ceremony for the boy at the Weber Funeral Home at 726 N. East Avenue. He was buried in Prairie Home Cemetery on March 14, 1921 at 2:00 PM in a small white casket with a carnation on top. “Our Darling” was inscribed on the casket lid by an unknown mourner. His gravestone said “Unknown Boy Found in O’Laughlin Quarry. Waukesha, Wis. March 8, 1921.

Homer Lemay via Wikipedia

In 1949, a Milwaukee medical examiner suggested that the unknown boy could have been Homer Lemay, a little boy who had gone missing around the same time Little Lord Fauntleroy was found.

Homer Lemay’s father had been questioned multiple times about his son’s disappearance, but he insisted Homer had been taken to Argentina by a Chicago couple under the name Norton in 1921. His father also claimed that the Norton couple sent him a letter informing that Homer was killed in a car accident. The police looked into this but found no real leads.

On May 16, 1949, pathologist E.L. Tharinger suggested that Little Lord Fauntleroy’s body be exhumed, but a final decision was made to leave the body buried. As a result, it was never determined whether Little Lord Fauntleroy was really Homer Lemay or not.

Without any more leads, the police could do no more work on the case, and it eventually went cold.