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Filed under: Bobby Dunbar book reviews bookmarked William Walters. Related stories.

5 Haunting Unsolved Kidnappings

Maclean's book reviews: It's cold outside—hunker down with a book. Who is Rob Delaney? Fearless eaters, Apple vs. Google, and more weekend reading. National leadership, in cowboy hats. Canadians are upbeat about the economy—but jittery about their own prosperity. Why Raptors fans are just fine to watch Kawhi Leonard go home. As a mother, I even used the story as a lesson for my own children as well. Afterward, I spent time with my parents, grieving and helping them through the shattering loss of their firstborn son. One day, as we were looking through old family photos and remembering Robbie, my dad handed me a thick, heavy black binder.

The binder was stuffed with newspaper clippings, handwritten letters, and telegrams, taped in with little if any discernible order. The little boy, Bobbie III, was my brother. The scrapbook was like a jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the box, and over the next few months, I lost myself in trying to piece it together.

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But soon the scrapbook—and the story it told—was no longer a safe source of escape. And the very first time I looked beyond the scrapbook, my family legend was turned squarely on its head. She tried to get him back, but the people who kidnapped him won him in court and changed his name to Bobby Dunbar. Within months, I was piecing together a broader historical record in libraries, archives, and courthouses across several states. Walters; they came on a wagon. They just got him. They just took him. I shared my research with them, and they shared their stories.

One in particular was strange and unnerving: Hollis told me that some fifty years ago, my grandfather—then a grown man—had come to Poplarville to see him. It would be years before I fully believed the story and understood its significance.

A Case for Solomon: Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping That Haunted a Nation by Tal McThenia

Nearly a century later, neither could I. When my father, Bobby Dunbar Jr. Just months before she died, God had answered her lifelong prayer: her brother had returned. Neither my dad nor I dared to challenge her belief that we were kin.


  1. Disappearance of Bobby Dunbar - Wikipedia.
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  4. REVIEW: A Case for Solomon: Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping That Haunted a Nation - jyhoxafi.cf.

All I could do was smile and nod weakly. As much as I accepted that the descendants of Julia Anderson and William Walters had their own truths, I still believed that my truth was the right one.


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  • Book by Tal McThenia and Margaret Dunbar Cutright.
  • My grandfather was Bobby Dunbar, the lost boy who was found. But eventually, the historical record put up too many challenges to that belief for me to ignore. Everything I thought I knew seemed to be crumbling out of my grasp. And far more than a question of roots was at stake. Instead it threatened to do precisely the opposite. I had hurled open the family closet and was yanking out its skeletons.

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    I was betraying, and dividing, my own family. It has taken years to come to some kind of peace with that tension, and for healing within my family to occur. Like Tal, I take great pride in the fact that our work exposes and corrects a series of century-old injustices and falsehoods. It is the life he chose to live in private that makes this family story most necessary to share. How can two mothers claim the same boy as their own? How could there be any uncertainty, from either mother, in knowing the child she bore?

    The answers to these questions are complex, incremental, and cumulative, and in the end, the issue of recognition is probably the least relevant and certainly the least compelling. It is a story of the ferocious, selfless, and seemingly irrational maternal instinct to protect a child. But what of the boy himself?

    Case for Solomon

    He must have known who he was. The answer, in this story, for this boy, is not so clear-cut. It is the boy who is the puzzle, and the quiet hero of this story. About The Authors.


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    Photograph by Stefanie Spina. Tal McThenia. Photograph by Wayne Cutright. Margaret Dunbar Cutright. Product Details. Raves and Reviews. Resources and Downloads.