Clayton and Hooker.

Those are the only two names police have for the two teens found murdered in a litter-strewn lot in Dorchester in 1988. It’s one of the city’s oldest open investigations.

Some unidentified murder victims become a cause celebre, like Provincetown’s Lady of the Dunes.

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Clayton and Hooker, though, became footnotes. The discovery of the gruesome scene — a passerby found their decomposing bodies while scavenging for bottles — barely registered during a violent period of the city’s history, especially when initial reports misidentified the victims as “men.”

But they were teenagers between ages 14 and 17, according to autopsies. Both had gunshot wounds to the head. A foam cylinder at the scene showed traces of gunpowder residue; the killer had apparently used it as a makeshift silencer.

Boston Police Department spokesman Mike McCarthy said there was no evidence that the boys were related. Police have investigated the possibility that they might have had ties to the Bronx, and detectives recently passed out fliers in New York seeking information. But McCarthy says the New York connection is unverified, and that detectives “won’t rule out any avenues at any point.”

Although the investigation has been fruitless for decades, police did recently get a new tool. Using crime scene photos, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was able to produce a sketch of what one of the boys might have looked like. But the bodies were too badly deteriorated to reconstruct the other boy’s face.

Here’s what is known: Both boys appeared to have been in good health. They were well dressed, apparently for cold weather. Both were black, possibly of Jamaican descent. Hooker wore Nikes, Clayton wore Avias.

“These were two teenagers. Other people knew them. They had friends, people who lived on their same street. They went to school,” said Carol Schweitzer, senior forensic case specialist at the center.

But which street? Which school? A few tips trickled in after the killings — that’s where police gleaned the possible names and a potential connection to the Bronx.

Yet Schweitzer says it’s far from a lost cause.

One potential next step would be to exhume the bodies from the city’s potter’s field at Fairview Cemetery in Hyde Park, where they were buried side by side in 1989. McCarthy says there would be no reason to dig them up, since police already have a DNA profile of the boys.

But according to Schweitzer, exhuming the bodies could allow investigators to produce a facial reconstruction of the other victim from his skull, recover dental information, and reexamine the bodies to narrow down the age range.

It’s a long shot but may be one of the only routes left to recovering the boys’ names — and finding their killer.

Produced by Elaina Natario, Laura Colarusso, Heather Hopp-Bruce, Alex Kingsbury, Jeremy D. Goodwin, and Mary Creane

Lead image by Alejo Porras