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LA LA - Robert 'Bobby' Dunbar, 4, Opelousas, 23 Aug 1912

Discussion in 'Pre-1960's Missing' started by LovelyPigeon, May 4, 2004.

  1. LovelyPigeon

    LovelyPigeon Former Member

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    After 90 years, a man's name is cleared, a lost boy comes home
    The Associated Press
    Ninety years ago, William Cantwell Walters was convicted of kidnapping little Bobby Dunbar. On Saturday, Robert Dunbar Jr. announced at a Walters family reunion that their ancestor was innocent.

    A DNA test proved that the 4-year-old boy taken from Walters nine decades ago and handed over to an Opelousas, La., couple was not Bobby Dunbar. More than likely, he was a Robeson County child entrusted to Walters by the woman who cared for his aged parents.

    "It doesn't say who I am, but it does say more than likely T.P. Dunbar is not my grandfather," Robert Dunbar Jr. told those who gathered for the reunion on the banks of the Lumber River. "This adventure continues." --->>

    Bobby Dunbar disappeared Aug. 23, 1912, during a fishing trip on Swayze Lake near Opelousas. Eight months later, Walters, an itinerant handyman from Barnesville near the South Carolina line, was arrested in Mississippi while traveling in a tented wagon with a boy who fit Bobby's description.

    Walters maintained that the boy was Charlie Bruce Anderson, the illegitimate son of his brother and Julia Anderson. Julia Anderson was brought to Mississippi and identified the boy as her Bruce, but a court-appointed arbiter ruled that he was Percy and Lessie Dunbar's missing son.

    Walters was convicted of kidnapping in April 1914 in a sensational trial, but the verdict was overturned on appeal. He was never retried, and the boy grew up a Dunbar
    .--->>

    http://www.wilmingtonstar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040501/APN/405010826&cachetime=5
     
  2. Casshew

    Casshew Former Member

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    "William Walters was tried and found guilty, but he was innocent," she told those who came, drawing applause. "The science proves it."

    For years, Julia Anderson's eight other children held tight to the belief that their brother was stolen away from them. Now, one boy has been found, and another lost.

    "What happened to Bobby?" said Cutright. "I believe he drowned in the jungle."


    ~~~~~
    What a story! lasted for decades and still a mystery.
     
  3. meggilyweggily

    meggilyweggily Member

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  4. meggilyweggily

    meggilyweggily Member

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  5. Kymistry35

    Kymistry35 It's never to late to be who you could have been

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    That really is a strange case. The parents had to know that this boy was not their child, but they kept him anyway.
     
  6. ShannonOhara

    ShannonOhara New Member

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    HUH?

    Im so confused, break it down for me.

    A child is missing, a child is found, a child is returned to the parents, but its not the right kid.....?

    Did I read that right?
     
  7. MagicRose99

    MagicRose99 Watch out for my thorns!

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    I have to agree... it says "a 4 year old child" was returned to his parents, yet only 8 months passed since he disappeared... the parents HAD to know that it wasn't their son...
     
  8. meggilyweggily

    meggilyweggily Member

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    I don't think so. I've seen cases where the parents were so desperate to believe they had their kid back, they believed a certain person was their child, in the face of all the evidence. In one case a boy showed up claiming to be a missing child, and he had an accent and the wrong color eyes and hair, and the missing boy's mom still believed. It wasn't for months that the individual's true identity was determined by fingerprints. He turned out to be a scam artist. The missing boy is still missing. http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/b/barclay_nicholas.html
     
  9. SewingDeb

    SewingDeb "Sorry, I'm not qualified to land the plane."

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  10. ttrachel04

    ttrachel04 New Member

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    i dont think that the boy was a scam artist. initially he told the investigators that he was Charlie Bruce Anderson (which was what William Walters and Julia also stated). however, he was pretty young at the time, just a kid. i think that after being told by SOOO many people that he was really bobby dunbar and that Walters had kidnapped him, he began to believe it himself and make up memories to fill in the gaps. this wouldn't be the first time this has happened. often people talk about lost memories, however, people can make up memories as well.
     
  11. Mira

    Mira Country Girl

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    i found this. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9D03E7DF163FE633A25756C1A9649D946396D6CF

    it opens a pdf that has a photo of the newspaper article. not good news for anybody.

    i knew someone who lost 3 children in the pearl river in the '50s. it took months to find them, and the mama went out of her mind. she saw their faces in every child she saw, even black and indian children. she died a few years ago, still searching for her babies, even though they had been found dead, and she was told. if someone had told her that any of those "recognized' children were hers, she would have believed it. poor miss emma :(

    maybe she found them in heaven.
     
  12. SewingDeb

    SewingDeb "Sorry, I'm not qualified to land the plane."

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    I am sure she did.

    How sad for Bobby Dunbar and for the woman searching every face for her babies.
     
  13. 2sisters

    2sisters New Member

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    I am guessing they were so grief stricken that they just convinced themselves her was their child. HOw very sad for all involved.
     
  14. meggilyweggily

    meggilyweggily Member

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    I'm not claiming the fake Bobby Dunbar was a scam artist. He was too young to form the intent for that kind of thing; he was just a very confused little boy whose life was turned upside down and he was probably the biggest victim in all of this. When I spoke of scam artists I was referring to the adult man who pretended to be Nicholas Barclay.

    I think chances are the real Bobby Dunbar died, probably drowned or something, on the day of his disappearance.
     
  15. Oblio

    Oblio Member

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    This American Life just did an episode on this, this week. It's available to listen to free at http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=352 .

    (I've been lurking here a week and read this thread the other day. Imagine my surprise when I heard it on the radio while I was driving yesterday!)
     
  16. Oblio

    Oblio Member

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    Oops, for some reason it's not showing the listen button right on that page, but if you go to www.thislife.org it's up on the front page. There's a button that says "full episode", press it and you can listen to it.
     
  17. kgeaux

    kgeaux New Member

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    My grandma lived very near where this happened. She is turning 101 very, very soon and she has a vivid memory of when Bobby got lost, and when the other boy was found. She remembers adults talking about the trial of the "found" boy's uncle. She says Bobby's mother 100% believed the found boy was her lost son. The residents of the area were never so sure, but there was a resemblance between the two boys. It made good gossip for years......in fact, when the DNA test results came in, my grandma was burning up the phone lines with some of her older relatives!

    Locals always wondered if the real Bobby was snagged under water in the lake, and now it looks like the poor little boy was.
     
  18. anthrobones

    anthrobones New Member

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    http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/d/dunbar_robert.html

    Missing Since: August 23, 1912 from Opelousas, Louisiana
    Classification: Endangered Missing
    Date of Birth: April 1908
    Age: 4 years old
    Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Blond hair, blue eyes. Dunbar's hair was darkening at the time of his disappearance and may have become brown as he grew older. He has a mole on his neck and a burn scar on his big toe. His nickname is Bobby.
    Clothing/Jewelry Description: A straw hat, blue rompers and no shoes.

    [​IMG]
    Details of Disappearance
    Dunbar was last seen on August 23, 1912. He was with his parents and younger brother on a fishing trip at Swayze Lake near Opelousas, Louisiana at the time. When his family went to the cabins for lunch at noon, Robert apparently wandered away. He has never been heard from again. An extensive search of the area turned up no indication of his whereabouts. Seachers did find a set of bare footprints leading out of the swamps to the railroad trestle, and there were reports of a strange man lurking in the area, so it was decided Dunbar must have been abducted.
    In April 1913, eight months after Dunbar's disappearance, William Cantwell Walters, was arrested and charged with his kidnapping. Walters, an itinerant handyman, was found in Mississippi with a child closely matching Dunbar's description. Walters stated the boy was named Bruce Anderson and his servant, Julia Anderson, had given him the child as a traveling companion. Bruce was believed to be the illegitimate son of Julie and Walters's brother. Bruce refused to answer to the name Bobby Dunbar, and initially he claimed he did not know Dunbar's mother. Julia identified the child as her son, but a court-appointed arbiter decided the boy was Dunbar.
    Walters was convicted of kidnapping, but the conviction was overturned on a technicality two years later and he was released. He was not retried. Walters always maintained his innocence. Julia went on to marry and have eight other children, who grew up being told they had a brother who was taken from them. The child who was with him was given to Dunbar's family and grew up as Dunbar. He gave at least one media interview as an adult, claiming to recall the details of his kidnapping, but family members state he was reportedly uncertain as to his true identity for his entire life. He had four children and was buried under the name Robert Dunbar after his death.
    In 2004, authorities announced that DNA testing had proved the child found with Walters was not Dunbar. Dunbar's granddaughter began to research the case in 1999 and became suspicious as to whether or not her grandfather was really Robert Dunbar. Dunbar's son, Robert Dunbar Jr., provided a DNA sample, which was compared with Dunbar Sr.'s brother. Testing Dunbar Jr. and his supposed uncle were not related. The identity of the child who was identified as Bobby Dunbar is unknown; he has not been proven to be Bruce Anderson or anyone else. With the results of the DNA testing, Dunbar was again classified as a missing child. It is possible that he fell off the railroad trestle and died, but his fate remains a mystery. His case is no longer being investigated by law enforcement due to the passage of time.
     
  19. georgiagirl

    georgiagirl Opinionated Southern Belle

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    This is a strange and fascinating case! I want to find out more about this one!
     
  20. AmandaBrown23

    AmandaBrown23 Im just living among all the madness

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    This is one of the oddest stories I have ever heard. The mother identified him as her child even though he wasnt?? How can you possibly mistake another child for your own? And who is the boy who grew up as Robert. Wow it would really be interesting to know the real happenings in this case.
     

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