What Happened to Bobby Dunbar?

On August 23, 1912, the Dunbars, a wealthy family from Opelousas, Louisiana, went on a fishing trip to Swayze Lake, also in Louisiana. The small family group consisted of Percy and Lessie Dunbar and their two young children, Alonzo and Bobby.

At some point that day, four-year-old Bobby went missing. Volunteers and police searched the area around the lake for days. They even gutted any large alligators they found to see if Bobby had been eaten. The boy himself was not found, but a set of footprints leading out of the swamps was. This led the Dunbars and the authorities to conclude that Bobby had been kidnapped. A $1000 reward was offered for Bobby’s return, and the Dunbars hired a private detective agency to search for him.


In April 1913, eight months after Bobby’s disappearance, authorities said they had found the child in the small town of Hub, Mississippi. He was living with a man named William Cantwell Walters. The only problem was that Walters said the child was not Bobby Dunbar. He insisted the child’s name was Charles Bruce Anderson and that he was the illegitimate son of his brother and a woman named Julia Anderson, who worked for the family as a field hand.

The Dunbars took the purported Bobby home and claimed to recognize marks on his body when they bathed him that first evening. Walters was arrested for kidnapping.

Julia Anderson, the mother of Charles Bruce Anderson, traveled to Opelousas to try get the boy back, arguing that he was her son. But since she had left him in Walters’ care for over a year while she worked, she could not identify him in a lineup. This incident, combined with the Dunbars’ wealth and influence and Anderson’s lowly status as an unwed mother, resulted in custody of the child being awarded to the Dunbars.

Walters was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping the child, but he only spent two years in jail. He maintained his innocence during his entire incarceration. Julia Anderson tried to plead her case to the newspapers, but to no avail. She eventually married and had seven more children, but she constantly talked about the child she said the Dunbars had stolen from her.

The boy was raised the rest of his life as Bobby Dunbar. He married and had four children, before dying in 1966.

But his descendants became interested in the kidnapping story and wanted to make sure that Bobby Dunbar really was Bobby Dunbar. In 2004, Bobby’s son Robert had a DNA test, as did his cousin, one of Alonzo’s sons and an undisputed Dunbar. It was found that the two men were not related at all when they should have been first cousins. As it turns out, William Cantwell Walters and Julia Anderson had been right all along. The child was really Charles Bruce Anderson.

Surely, the Dunbars knew this was not their child when they took him home, so why did they lie? Did they know what really happened to Bobby, but were just trying to cover up their own responsibility, accidental or otherwise, for Bobby’s death? Or did they just want to replace their child so badly that they were willing to overlook the fact that they were stealing someone else’s child? Unfortunately, since all parties to the original story are now dead, we may never know what really happened on that sad day in 1912.

Next Article
  • The Algae Expert Who Helped Win World War II

    One would have thought that the Ministry Of Defense would have known the difference between a cryptogamist and a cryptogramist. Back in World War II, they showed us that they definitely did not, which is why they accidentally recruited scientist Geoffrey Tandy to work at Bletchley Park for the Code Breakers. ...

    Read More
  • Saving A Whole Village With Rainbow Art

    Everyone loves a rainbow, the beautiful colors and different hues always make you smile. And that is what one Taiwanese pensioner thought when he made a desperate attempt to save his village. Armed with only a paintbrush, 93-year old Huang Yung-Fu turned his town into a vibrant rainbow and in the process saved it from...

    Read More
  • Evidence Of A Destroyed Planet Found

    Billions of years ago it seems our solar system actually had another planet spinning around in it. This long destroyed planet would have existed only during the very start of our solar systems creation. In 2008, an asteroid exploded into the Sudan desert on October 7th and with it came...

    Read More
  • Huge Poop Train Stuck Outside Small Alabama Town

    In a strange situation that is just asking to be explained, sources have revealed a huge train filled with human excrement is stranded outside a small town in Alabama. Apparently, the poop train is wafting smelly fumes for miles and locals are beginning to wonder whenever this nightmare may end. ...

    Read More
  • French Strongman Who Broke Out Of Prison With His Bare Hands

    There is one French strongman that goes down in the books as having undeniable strength and determination: his name is Charles Rigoulet. Not only was he breaking numerous weightlifting records all over the world, he won a gold medal in the 1942 Summer Olympics. And if that was not enough? He was also an actor,...

    Read More
  • Medieval Norwegians Liked To Cheat At Dice

    Recently a specially designed dice was found in Norway: it did not have a number one or a number two. Looks like a fixed dice to do some cheating in gambling, but the real stunner was that this wooden dice was 600 years old! A specially designed dice for cheating...

    Read More
  • Extraordinary Photo Of A Humpback Whale Sneezing A Rainbow

    At the end of every rainbow, you will find a pot of gold… or was it a humpback whale? The following photo hit the internet last week from the California wildlife photographer who had the instinct to take his shot at the exact moment. So we now know that there is at least one rainbow...

    Read More