2. Bobby Dunbar
Bobby Dunbar was only four years old in 1912, when he disappeared while on a family holiday in Louisiana.
Hundreds of volunteers joined in the search for Bobby, combing the riverbanks, slicing open the bellies of alligators, and even dynamiting the lake, thinking that the blast might dislodge the child’s corpse. Bobby appeared to have vanished into thin air until, eight months later, he was found alive and well in the care of William Cantwell Walters from Mississippi.
Walters was found guilty of kidnapping, despite his vehement protests that the child was, in fact, his nephew. The child was taken home to his mother, who is said to have exclaimed, “Thank God, it is my boy,” before fainting.
William Walters was convicted of child abduction and sentenced to life in prison, though he only served two years. However, in 2004, DNA tests proved that the boy (pictured above) who was “rescued” from Walters was not Bobby Dunbar and was in all probability the nephew that Walters had claimed. What happened to Bobby is unclear, but the most likely explanation is that he drowned in the river on the same day he disappeared.