Boy thought to be Bobby Dunbar wrongly returned to family


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The kidnapping of a child can be so painful, that it is sometimes easier for the family to accept a lie instead of live with the uncertainty of the reality of the situation. Sometimes, though, a mystery doesn’t die with the people who experienced it, and generations later, others have their own reasons to find out what really happened.

One unsolved kidnapping went cold decades ago, and to cope with their loss, the family chose to hold onto wishful thinking until decades later when a descendant decided to begin her own investigation.

What happened to this family’s son may never be revealed, but their granddaughter needed to know who she truly came from.

It was the summer of 1912 in Opelousas, Louisiana. The Dunbar family had just returned home from a fishing contest at Swayze Lake and were enjoying lunch when parents Percy and Lessie realized their oldest son, Bobby, was missing.

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There was no sign of Bobby—until volunteers discovered a small set of footprints leading out of the town’s muddy swamps and toward a railroad trestle. Talks of a stranger wandering in the same area lead the Dunbar family to believe that four-year-old Bobby had been kidnapped.

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Percy, who was a known real estate and insurance agent around town, immediately paid a detective agency to print postcards of Bobby’s picture and sent them to every county official from Texas to Florida.

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The town of Opelousas promised a $1,000 reward for Bobby, “no questions asked.” A massive manhunt began all over the southern states, with Bobby’s description on the minds of parents and police alike.

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Boy thought to be Bobby Dunbar wrongly returned to family

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