Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Missing person cases make good storytelling fodder. Here are a few interesting ones I uncovered this week.

1812 – Theodosia Burr Alston (29), daughter of U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr, sailed from Georgetown, South Carolina, aboard the Patriot, which was never seen again. (Story here)

1872 – Captain Benjamin Briggs (37), his wife Sarah Elizabeth (31), daughter Sophia Matilda (2), and all seven crew members were missing when the Mary Celeste was found adrift in choppy seas some 400 miles east of the Azores. (Story here)

1910 – Dorothy Arnold (25), Manhattan socialite and perfume heiress, vanished after buying a book in New York City. She told a friend of her intentions to walk through Central Park but was never seen again. (Story here)

1912 – Bobby Dunbar (4) disappeared during a fishing trip in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.  Eight months later, a child found in the custody of William Cantwell Walters of Mississippi was ruled to be Bobby Dunbar by a court-appointed arbiter. Walter claimed the boy was given to him by a servant of his parents. No one believed him, and Walters was found guilty of kidnapping.

The child grew up as Bobby Dunbar, had four children of his own, and died in 1966. But in 2004, DNA tests proved that William Walters was telling the truth. The child who was raised as Bobby Dunbar, did not have Dunbar DNA. (Story here)


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