02-01-2008, 01:39 AM #1Former Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2006
Bonita Karen Sanders (23 months) - Atlantic City NJ, 1986
Missing Since: September 14, 1986 from Atlantic City, New Jersey
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: September 17, 1984
Age: 1 year old
Height and Weight: 2'0 - 2'6, 20 - 30 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: African-American female. Black hair, brown eyes. Bonita Karen has an abdominal hernia scar. She also has a scar on her the joint of left wrist. One of Bonita Karen's hands is slightly deformed and curves inward. She is left-handed.
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A short-sleeved yellow shirt, blue pants and blue and white sandals.
Details of Disappearance
According to Bonita Karen's mother, who is also named Bonita, her daughter was last seen strapped in her stroller on the porch of her family's residence in the Virginia Court Apartments on Baltic Avenue in Atlantic City, New Jersey at 6:00 p.m. on September 14, 1986. Bonita Karen was eating a popsicle and Bonita's other children were playing outside at the time. Bonita claimed that she looked outside at approximately 7:00 p.m. that evening and discovered Bonita Karen had disappeared from her stroller. Bonita claimed that she searched Baltic Avenue and the surrounding streets for her daughter, but she could not locate her. She reported her daughter as missing at approximately 8:30 p.m. Bonita Karen has never been seen again.
Bonita Karen's father, Abdul Salaam, was immediately eliminated as a possible suspect in his daughter's case. He had been seeking custody of Bonita Karen at the time she vanished and was also imprisoned on a robbery charge. Bonita allegedly abandoned Bonita Karen at birth and also attempted to abandon another newborn after Bonita Karen disappeared. Bonita reportedly walked out of an Atlantic City hospital in 1984 and left Bonita Karen at the facility. She was not charged in that case, but Bonita did face charges when she gave birth to a son in October 1986, one month after Bonita Karen was last seen. Bonita checked into Atlantic City Medical Center under the alias "Laura Smith" to deliver and was discharged on October 7, 1986. Bonita apparently then left with her newborn son and took a cab to an Atlantic City bus terminal. She boarded a bus to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and left the baby lying face-down in a terminal restroom in Atlantic City, where he was rescued shortly thereafter. Bonita was sentenced to nine months in jail for endangering the welfare of a child in January 1987 and her three other children were placed in foster homes. The father of Bonita's newborn son told authorities that she lied to him and said she had an abortion when she was pregnant with the child. He did not know she had carried the baby to term and given birth until he was contacted by law enforcement.
The prosecutor in Bonita's case told the court that she was uncooperative during the investigation into Bonita Karen's 1986 disappearance. He stated that she provided false leads and also lied to authorities. Bonita evidently never inquired as to the status of her daughter's case.
Salaam believes that his daughter was not abducted and has asked investigators to search the yard in back of the Virginia Court Apartments for human remains. Authorities utilized cadaver-sniffing dogs earlier in the case and could not locate any evidence in the area. Salaam also stated that New Jersey's Division Of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) was supposed to check on Bonita Karen's well-being prior to her disappearance at his request. DYFS arrived at the Sanders's residence, only to discover no one was home during their first visit. By the time DYFS prepared for a second attempt, Bonita Karen had vanished. Salaam continues to search for his daughter.
Some law enforcement officials believe that Bonita Karen choked to death on the popsicle stick she was holding on the day of her disappearance and was buried somewhere off the family's residence. There is no evidence to support this theory, however. Bonita Karen's disappearance remains unsolved and is still open. It is still classified as a Non-Family Abduction by law enforcement.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Atlantic City Prosecutor's Office
Major Crimes Unit
04-09-2010, 01:02 AM #2Former Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2006
Discuss Bonita's case here:
Bonita Sanders, 2, NJ, 1986 - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community
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