Boston PD ask for help reuniting 1988 cold case Bronx victims with their families

A rolled up piece of foam cushioning used as a silencer was recovered near Clayton and Hooker’s bodies.
Photo courtesy of Detective John Cronin

Boston police are hoping to find relatives of two murdered teens believed to have been from the Bronx to help bring closure to a 1988 cold case.

According to Detective John Cronin, Boston Police Department Homicide Cold Case Unit, on Thursday, October 6, 1988, at 2:04 p.m., a man traveling near a vacant lot across from 29 Eldon Street in the Dorchester section of Boston discovered the decomposing body of an African American male teenager.

Police arrived at the scene and uncovered a second African American male teen’s body hidden underneath a tarp.

Further investigation revealed both were shot execution style with a medium size caliber bullet which is typically used in handguns.

A 16-inch long piece of rolled up foam cushioning was recovered near the bodies that contained traces of gun powder residue. Police determined it was utilized as a makeshift silencer during the murders.

Prolonged exposure to the elements made DNA testing nearly impossible in identifying the teens or their murderer.

Neither victim had identification on their person.

It seemed law enforcement reached a dead end in the investigation until a drug addicted woman brought in on an unrelated charge claimed she knew the victims.

The woman said she met three African American teens from the Bronx going by the names Clayton, Hooker and Flip at the same vacant lot.

She revealed to police the victims, Clayton and Hooker had worked for Flip in the crack cocaine drug trade.

The youngest of the trio, Clayton was believed to be 14 to 16-years old, five foot four and 130 pounds.

A composite of Clayton was made by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and a DNA profile for him now exists.

Hooker was described as 16 or 17-years old, five foot ten, and 160 pounds.

Unfortunately, Hooker’s face was severely decomposed making further identification impossible for a composite.

The group’s alleged ringleader, Flip was described as 17 to 19-years old, five foot seven or five foot eight, medium build and wore a lot of gold jewelry around his neck.

One distinguishing feature Flip has is his two golden front teeth, one with a half moon design and the other depicting a star.

Flip was never found by police and it is widely believed he may have returned to New York following Clayton and Hooker’s murders.

Detective Cronin revealed the area where Clayton and Hooker were discovered was a well-known drug area in the 1980s and added drug dealers often ruled over street corners with an iron fist.

A theory Cronin suggested was Flip, Clayton, and Hooker may have encroached upon a rival drug group’s turf resulting in retaliation.

Another possibility the detective offered was Clayton, Hooker, and Flip may have been foster house runaways, explaining a majority of foster homes during the 1980s experienced instances of children running away or dying which went largely unreported.

The last known address for the woman claiming to have known the trio was a town in Tennessee, but the sheriff and residents there said they neither met nor have seen this woman.

Detective Cronin began investigating this case a year ago. He explained the investigation has since been very slow and has yet to provide any further leads.

“I figured these kids were so young that somebody’s got to know them,” Detective Cronin expressed. “We just want to help return these kids to their families.”

If you know anything about this case, recognize this composite or remember someone matching Flip’s description, contact Detective Cronin at (617) 343-5837.

A composite of Clayton, one of two Bronx victims from a 1988 Boston Police Department cold case.
Photo courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

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