What if you started to research your family history and discovered the mother of all skeletons in the family closet — that you weren’t who you really thought you were? That’s what happened to the descendants of Bobby Dunbar.
Bobby Dunbar went missing at the age of four during a family trip to Swayze Lake in Louisiana in 1912. After an eight-month search, little Bobby was found with tinker William Cantwell Walters in Mississippi. The only problem was that Bobby’s mother wasn’t certain he was her missing boy, and another woman claimed he was her son Bruce Anderson. A court found in favor of the Dunbars, who raised Bobby. DNA tests done on family members in recent years have proven that he was actually Bruce Anderson. You have to listen to last week’s episode of This American Life (NPR):
You can download the program (and learn more about it) at TAL: “The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar.”
This story made me think of a similar story in my own family (albeit without a kidnapping). At one point during the program, when Margaret Dunbar Cutright is recounting her feelings upon all that Julia Anderson, Bobby’s real mother, lost, I admit I teared up. It’s an amazing story that only listening to the podcast can truly bring justice to.
Photo of Bobby Dunbar with unknown persons, via This American Life.
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