In August 1912, Lessie and Percy Dunbar of Opelousas, Louisiana, took their four-year-old son, Bobby, on a fishing trip.
It was during that trip to nearby Swayze Lake that little Bobby Dunbar disappeared.
After an eight month search authorities found a boy in Mississippi who appeared to match Bobby’s description.
The boy had been travelling with William Cantwell Walters, a handyman who roamed around the country, tuning and repairing wealthy people’s pianos and organs.
Walters was immediately arrested for kidnapping and the boy was reunited with his parents.
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According to newspaper reports at the time, Lessie and Percy may not have initially recognised the boy.
While one newspaper reported that Bobby immediately shouted out “Mother” upon seeing Lessie, another said the boy only cried. Lessie was also quoted as saying she didn’t recognise him.
There were also contradictions in the accounts of the boy being united with his younger brother, Alonzo. One paper reported that Bobby didn’t appear to recognise his own brother, while another wrote that he recognised him instantly, called him by name and kissed him.
The next day, Lessie bathed the boy and said she could positively identify him by his moles and scars, and she was now certain he was her son.
However, Walters, the man accused of kidnapping Bobby, had a different story to tell.