The Mysterious Abduction of Laurence Harding Jr. - Unsolved Mysteries

A ten-week-old infant is kidnapped by two teenage girls.

Laurence was 10 weeks old when he disappeared

Geoffrey Harding never met his brother

CASE DETAILS

It all began in Chicago, Illinois, in 1953.  Eight-year-old Geoffrey Harding was taunted by schoolmates about a brother he never knew.  That same day, his mother showed him some scrapbooks stored in the attic.  She explained that he did indeed have a brother.  Geoffrey was unaware that his long lost brother had been kidnapped before he was born:

“I just didn’t know what to do.  I felt so empty inside.  And I felt so sad for my parents.  I could just look in my mother’s eyes and see the pain.  And I also wanted to know what it was like to have a brother.  And I always felt cheated that I couldn’t communicate with him, I couldn’t play with him, couldn’t wrestle with him, couldn’t go to a ball game with him.  I couldn’t do anything like everybody else did with their own brother and sister.”

The neighbor wasn’t paying attention

Geoffrey’s mother brought out a baby book and read him clippings she had saved about the events of June 30, 1944.  That morning, she put ten week-old Laurence, Jr. in his carriage and made her customary trip to the corner market.  There were two teenager girls in the store.  According to Geoffrey, his mother didn’t recognize the girls from the neighborhood, but felt that their attention was innocent:

“As my mother was coming home from the market, the two girls were following her, but she… just thought that the two girls were walking down the street as she was going home.  And when she pulled into the yard with the baby carriage, she saw a neighbor who lived upstairs. The lady who was supposed to be watching my brother didn’t keep an eye on him long enough.  She watched him for a little while and then she kind of turned away.  By the time my mother, who was running as fast as she could, got to the alley… the girls were gone.”

After three agonizing days, Geoffrey’s family received a phone call:

“The girl on the other end of the line identified herself as one of the people that took the baby and the girl said we’re going to bring the baby to you. And my mother said when?
And as she was waiting for an answer, the girl hung up on her. She was never asked for ransom and that was the last contact my mother had with the kidnappers.”

Two teenage girls took the baby

The FBI and the Chicago police searched for Laurence, Jr., to no avail.  Finally, after four weeks, the investigation was called off.  Ten-week-old Laurence Harding Jr. had vanished into thin air. Geoffrey Harding would never meet his older brother:

“When my mother told me what had happened, I think it was then that a seed was planted inside of me that because I loved my parents, I wanted to make this right for them.”

Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, Geoffrey was able to secure the original FBI records pertaining to the case of his brother’s disappearance.  In these files, Geoffrey found a startling new lead, and he hired private investigator Paul Rigsby.  Together, they learned that in 1944, the FBI had interviewed two railroad porters.  According to Rigsby, the porters told a curious tale of a young woman at a Chicago train station just four days after Laurence’s disappearance:

“The FBI file from Washington that we were able to get a copy of, indicated one of the teenage girls showed up at the train station with a baby meeting the description of Laurence.”

The baby was last seen at the train station

According to Rigsby, the teenage girl then asked a random woman to hold her baby for a moment:

“More than likely the woman was on the platform with the baby, the train’s fixing to pull off and she’s not sure if the teenage girl is on the train or not on the train.  And realized that it was her time to get on the train and was believing the teenage girl when she told her not to worry.  And more than likely she got on the train waiting for the teenage girl to find her.  However after the train took off, it became obvious that the teenage girl didn’t make the train. When the older woman with the baby arrived at Union Station in St. Louis, she approached two porters, George Hill and a Charlie McCall, and explained to them how she came by the baby. She also told him that she was going to Magnolia, Arkansas, but told him that if that mother decided she wanted the child, she’d be in Magnolia and she could find her there.”

Armed with the promising information, Rigsby immediately went to Magnolia.  He conducted interviews and combed through the town’s records, but unfortunately turned up no trace of the woman or her family:

“The woman at the train station probably thought that the girl didn’t want this child.  I believe that this woman was a Good Samaritan.  She took care of the child.  She did everything she could to let the porters know where she was going.  And in no way, shape or form did she have anything to do with the abduction.”

She couldn’t catch up with the kidnappers

Geoffrey Harding will not give up his search until he finds out what happened to his brother.  Geoffrey is certain his brother is alive and probably unaware of his unusual past:

“If there’s anything that I dream about as being the happy ending, it would be finding my brother, finding out that he was raised in a loving environment, finding out that he would be willing to accept me and accept my family and that we could spend our lives together as friends.”


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season two with Robert Stack and season eight with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

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32 Comments

  1. Edvenia Beach

    Is there any updates on this case. Would love to know

    Reply

  2. Jessica Manifold

    Is there any update on this case? I’d love.to know if they found each other.

    Reply

    • Angelica Lara

      I would like to know to, I see in 2015 someone commented “Lawrence c. Powell 3rd, his father had 9 siblings was born in 1944, lives in Detroit, and that his uncles teased his dad by calling him a hobo baby.” Was that lead ever followed up?

      Reply

  3. Hello

    Is anybody looking? Not fake, anonymous lame post! REAL INFORMATION! I can’t believe that neighbor. She probably set it up.

    Reply

  4. Anonymous

    Geoffrey, I think I may have information that may be important to you and your family. My email is pastorliz03 @gmail. Com

    Reply

  5. Anonymous

    Back then,,I think people took in babies.no matter what,I’m sure it would have been easy toget birth certif and the like back then.

    Reply

  6. Gray

    This case was on my mind.I wish it was solved.

    Reply

  7. MezzgUK

    What you have to remember is in 1944 a war was coming to an end the woman probably thought a baby black child could be brought up in a home so decided after trying at station which she did she gave address etc the FBI wasn’t bothered about a baby think about the way white people very wrongly treated blacks they didn’t care and as I said there was a war on too. The lady obviously had some wealth to be traveling so hopefully he had a better life than if those two girls who took him originally if they had kept him no the FBI should have followed this through. However I’m not sure but I think this may have been solved. Above are two people saying they are sure they have info too. So all is not lost. Don’t be so fast to chastise the lady who held him she did all she could 1944 god knows where this poor lad would have ended up. Also someone says about the mother not trying what could she do the police FBI were “supposed to be dealing with this it’s not like today where we have a small world in web!

    Reply

  8. King-Galaxius Stravinsky

    It is too bad that the F.B.I. did not hand over what they found at the time years ago. So, I came up with an idea of how to crack this case, if the details concerning what those two men saw and heard at the train station that day. O.K. Here is my idea. However, this task is going to be a little tedious, but should be effective if such records have been kept: Go back over the details concerning “the exact day” the girls, baby, and older woman was seen at that station. If I were an investigator, I would go through the logs that lists every passenger that rode that bus or train that whole entire day. Back then there were paper logs with information concerning all of the riders, because the tickets had to be printed. If those logs still exist today(hopefully), then the records concerning every traveler that was there that entire day should be sifted through like a fine tooth comb.
    Also, check and see if such records were saved via microfiche as well. If this method was done back then, this case would have been cracked! Much luck! I was truly touched by this story.

    Reply

  9. Lawrence Powell 3Rd from detroit

    Hello my name is Lawrence c Powell 3Rd IM from Detroit Michigan my father has nine siblings and he was born in 1944 he passed away Feb 12 2001 and seeing your case just now seemed odd because I remember my uncles used to tease him by calling him a hobo baby

    Reply

  10. Laurie

    So very sad. I pray that someone would come forward. I pray that you find your brother.

    Reply

  11. Jimbo

    I think Geoffrey should sign up to Long Lost Family. Now, it’s been renewed for season 2.

    Reply

  12. Anonymous

    Why is his picture not on Missingkids.com?

    Reply

  13. Jenny

    Seems like the likely suspect could be the woman who reportedly held onto the baby for a ‘teen’ – she may have just wanted a story to tote around a baby that wasn’t hers. Was there ever a good description of her? No ticketing information provided or a roster for the train?

    Reply

  14. samira

    After all of these years since this show first aired and with the advanced technology in use since that time (e.g., DNA, internet, etc) you would think that somebody would have come forward with more information by now, especially since the teens who took him apparently gave him up to a good Samaritan, which leads me to wonder if he or his brother are still alive.

    Reply

  15. Demetres Thomas

    please contact me demetresthomas@gmail.com about info on this unsolved mystery

    Reply

  16. Trudy

    This is a very sad story. I am praying for you and your family and I hope that one day you may find the answers you are seeking.

    Reply

  17. Caitie

    I’ve always thought this case was sad and scary. Poor mother. I have a feeling that someone out there knows something, I still think that the woman from the train station has the answer. Maybe someone in her family knows…you’d think someone would remember your relative bringing home a baby all of a sudden.

    Reply

  18. Carmen

    What’s a good idea?

    Reply

  19. Brenda Comeaux

    That’s a good idea.

    Reply

  20. Ann

    Do you believe your brother lives in Magnolia now or do you know? I grew up in Magnolia and my mother is 82 and stills lives there. I called her to tell her the story to see if she may have ever heard anything about someone who took in a baby. She didn’t recall anything about this but there may be other older people in Magnolia that know of this incident. Have you considered publishing this story in the Banner Newspaper in Magnolia or share in on the local radio Freiendly Show that everyone listens to.

    Reply

    • Jackee Kimble

      Hi my name is Jackee. I am also from Magnolia Arkansas. This case is something I would very much like to help solve because I have missing relatives. Did the woman not leave a name to tell the people who to ask for in Magnolia. Did her family not question this situation. or did she not tell them the truth about the baby something don’t add up here cuz Magnolia’s of small town somebody would have remembered or question why did she not tell the police . that don’t make no sense it do kind of sound like maybe she was into it to keep the baby anyway. I would really like to help with this case if it has not been solved where there any names who was this lady I really would like to know if this case has been solved who was she related to in Magnolia Arkansas my email address is Jackeeofspade52@gmail.com.

      Reply

  21. Linda

    Perhaps you and your parents could submit your DNA to the FBI or local law enforcement to create and locate a genetic match, if your brother has ever submitted his DNA for testing, his profile may be in someone’s records. DNA profile are created by hospitals for organ donors, there is a possibility that at one time he could have been tested for some reason or another. My prayers are with you. God Bless.

    Reply

  22. kerry

    Why hadnt she gone to police with baby,gee if some kid left me a baby u betcha ima go straight to police with it.and tell them what happened. Smh dont ppl think. Or this is making no sense ,.as for the mom its oh well scrapbook him. No id bug them to keep looking seems like noone actually searched

    Reply

  23. David

    I think Geoffrey should go on Ancestry.com and see if he can find his brother.

    Reply

    • King-Galaxius Stravinsky

      Hey! ancestry.com would be another way to try and find out such information, especially if the other person did a D.N.A. test as well! I wonder if that train station had any cameras. And, I wonder if school records were checked.
      I am also disappointed in the fact that the woman did not take measures herself to turn over the baby, or at least relay explicit information to the Chicago, Illinois police. Then, turn the baby in in the city she resided in once she found out that the baby was indeed reported as missing.
      No. She apparently was in no hurry to turn that baby in to be reunited with his family. No siree, Bob! She was not in a hurry at all! I hope to God that the Chicago, IL train station and the Saint Louis, Missouri train station has logs of each passenger! Ooooh, I hope to God!
      Some people definitely needs to go to jail! Seriously!

      Reply

    • Anonymous

      Good idea!!! AshleyK

      Reply

  24. Me

    This is just a really sad story and I just hope that one day you would reunite with your brother. God bless.

    Reply

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If you have questions, comments, or complaints concerning our privacy practices or if you wish to change, access, or remove your Personal Data, please contact us as indicated below.  We will attempt, where practical, to respond to your requests and to provide you with additional privacy related information.

Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. is the owner of this Website and retains all ownership rights to the information collected at this Website. Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. reserves the right to change, modify, add, or remove provisions of this Privacy Statement. Any changes to this Privacy Statement will be posted here, and we encourage you to check back from time to time. In addition, Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. will notify registered users of changes as they occur.

We allow third-party companies to serve ads and/or collect certain anonymous information when you visit our web site. These companies may use non-personally identifiable information (e.g., click stream information, browser type, time and date, subject of advertisements clicked or scrolled over) during your visits to this and other Web sites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services likely to be of greater interest to you. These companies typically use a cookie or third party web beacon to collect this information. To learn more about this behavioral advertising practice or to opt-out of this type of advertising, you can visit networkadvertising.org. Your use of the site constitutes your agreement to accept cookies, beacons and third-party advertising. Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. assumes no responsibility for third-party ads.

ARTICLE 1. Personalization
1.1 We may use the contact information you give us to better tailor your Website experience to your interests, and to send you information about Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. and its services as well as promotional material on behalf of some of our partners. We may use other information that you provide to us to show you content in which you may be interested and to display the content according to your preferences. We will also share this information within Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. in order to enhance your experience on this and other Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. Websites.
1.2 In addition, we may share this information with advertisers or other third parties that are not part of the Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. family on an aggregate or other basis that does not disclose your identity or contact information.

ARTICLE 2. Online Surveys/Contests
2.1 From time to time, we may conduct online surveys and contests. These may ask you for contact information (like name or email address) and demographic information (like zip code or age).
2.2 We may use this contact information from our surveys and contests to provide you with information about our company and promotional material on behalf of some of our partners, and to contact you when necessary.

ARTICLE 3. Shopping/Commercial Services
3.1 This Website may offer shopping services, which may be offered by us or by a firm that operates a store under contract with us. If our Website offers shopping or other commercial services, you will use a customer order form to request information, products, and services. The order form will ask you to give us contact information (like name or email address), financial information (like account or credit card numbers), and demographic information (like zip code or age).

3.2 We will use the financial information that you provide to bill you for products and services. By giving our Website your credit card and related personal information, you are authorizing our store to give that information to the merchant and credit card company in order to confirm and fulfill your order.

3.3 We will use contact information from the order form to fulfill your orders. We may also use contact data to get in touch with you when necessary. We will not otherwise use or distribute your financial information without your prior approval.

ARTICLE 4. Public forums
4.1 This Website may make available chat rooms, blogs, forums, message boards, and news groups. Please remember that any information that you disclose in these areas becomes public information and you should exercise caution when deciding to disclose your personal information. Information disclosed by you or by others enters the public domain and may be freely used by any other persons or entities using the site.

ARTICLE 5. Information Sharing With Third Parties
5.1 From time to time we may enter into a special relationship with another company that is not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. to provide additional features at this Website. These special relationships may include “powered by” partners, business partners, sponsors, and co-branded sites (referred to here as “co-branded pages”). These might include, for example, pages that share our name and that of another entity. You should look for a specific privacy statement on any such co-branded page. Any personal information that you provide when signing up at one of those co-branded pages may be shared with our third party partner. You should also check our partner’s website for information regarding its privacy policies.

5.2 Also, the nature of some features of our Website may require that we share personal information about you with persons or companies outside of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. For example, this may occur at a feature that enables you, via our Website, to ask questions of persons or entities that are not part of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. By responding to those features of the site, whether by email or direct entry of information on our Website, you are consenting to our transferring that information to such persons or entities.

5.3 With respect to specific registration modules, like contests, we may disclose personal information collected, and we may post a conspicuous statement on the registration module to the effect that we will be disclosing the information collected with third parties.

5.4 Finally, we may share any of the information collected from you with these other non- Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc companies in an aggregate basis. The aggregated information is not linked to any information that can identify you.

ARTICLE 6. IP Address and Log Files
6.1 We may use your IP address to administer our Website, to help diagnose problems with our server, to analyze trends, to track users’ webpage movements, to help identify you and your shopping cart, and to gather broad demographic information for aggregate use.

ARTICLE 7. Cookies
7.1 This Website may use a standard technology called a “cookie” to collect information about how you use the Website. Cookies reside on your computer and help our Website to recognize your computer’s browser as a previous visitor. This information allows us to customize delivery of information. For example, our Website may use cookies to save and remember registration information or preferences that you may have set while browsing the Website, to keep track of your shopping cart, to ensure you don’t see the same ad content repeatedly, to deliver content specific to your interests, and to save your password so you do not have to re-enter it each time you visit our site. We use cookies only to gather information as indicated in this policy.

7.2 In addition, on occasion our site may also set a “session cookie” which helps us administer the Website. The session cookie expires when you close your browser and does not retain any information about you after it expires.

7.3 Finally, we may also use an ad network provider to help present advertisements on this and other Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. websites. This ad network provider, like other advertising service vendors, uses cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies on the hard drive of your computer to serve you advertisements tailored to interests you have shown by browsing on this and other sites you have visited, and to determine whether you have seen a particular advertisement before and to avoid sending you duplicate advertisements. In doing so, the provider collects non-personal data such as your browser type, your operating system, web pages visited, time of visits, content viewed, ads viewed, and other clickstream data. The use of cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies by these ad network providers is subject to their own privacy policies, not ours, and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. assumes no responsibility for the collection or use of such information.

ARTICLE 8. Banner Advertising
8.1 We have contracted with an ad-service to place banner advertising on our Website. All of the data provided and generated by the ad-server software remains in our possession. This feature of our Website may, on occasion, set “cookies” on your computer. Any information collected or stored by the ad-service or the cookies is treated in the same manner as other information described in this statement.

ARTICLE 9. Children’s Personal Information
9.1 Consistent with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act:

9.1.1 This site does NOT collect, use, or disclose personal information (including online contact information) of children under the age of thirteen (13).

9.1.2 In the event that a child under the age of 13 attempts to register on our site, we will NOT accept the registration and will delete information received from the child.

9.1.3 In the event that a child posts personal information in a public forum such as a chat room, we will attempt to delete that information once we become aware of it.

ARTICLE 10. Security of Your Personal Information
10.1 Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. employs reasonable security measures consistent with standard industry practice, for information collected through this Website. We believe that we have adequate security measures in place in our physical facilities to protect against the loss, misuse, or alteration of the information we collect on our Website. We also use internal protections to limit access to users’ personal information to only those employees who need the information to perform a specific job.

ARTICLE 11. Sale or Merger
11.1 If this Website is sold to, or merges with, another company not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc., you should expect that some or all of the information collected from this Website may be transferred to the buyer/surviving company. If so, CMP will seek to obligate the acquiring company to use any personal information transferred by this Website in a manner consistent with this statement, but cannot guarantee that it will be able to impose that requirement or that the acquiring company will comply.

ARTICLE 12. Legal Process
12.1 You should be aware that Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. may be required to disclose your personal information to the government or third parties under certain circumstances, such as in court or regulatory proceedings.

ARTICLE 13.  Contacting the Website

13.1        If you have any questions about this Privacy Statement, the practices of this Website, or your dealings with this Website, please contact us at: unsolved@unsolved.com.

ARTICLE 14.  general information

14.1        Choice of Law:  This Agreement and the Additional Terms shall be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the State of California , as it is applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within such state, without regard to conflict of law principles.

14.2        Choice of Forum:  You agree that any cause of action you or Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. brings to enforce this Agreement and/or the Additional Terms, or in connection with any matters related to this Website and/or the Privacy Statement, shall be submitted to arbitration in the County of Los Angeles, State of California, United States of America in accordance with the commercial rules and regulations of the American Arbitration Association then in effect (as amended herein), provided that said arbitration shall be heard before a single arbitrator, who shall be a retired judge, selected pursuant to such rules and regulations, and shall be conducted on an expedited basis and in confidence. The arbitrator’s decision shall be controlled by the terms and conditions of this agreement and any other agreements I may enter into with you, and shall be final and binding, and shall provide for each party to bear its own costs of arbitration and attorneys’ fees.  Each party expressly waives any right to a jury.  Judgment upon the award of the arbitrator may be entered or enforced in any court of competent jurisdiction. 

14.4        If any provision of this Agreement, or the application thereof to any person or circumstances, is held invalid or for any reason unenforceable then such provision shall be deemed superseded by a valid, enforceable provision that matches, as closely as possible, the original provision, and the other provisions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.  The failure of either party to insist upon strict performance of any provision of this Agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of any provision or right.  Unless expressly provided otherwise, this Agreement is the entire agreement between you and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. with respect to the use of this Website and shall not be modified except in writing, signed by an authorized representative of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc.

ARTICLE 15.  European Union and Other Foreign Nations

15.1        This Website is governed by and operated in accordance with the laws of United States of America and is intended for enjoyment of residents of the United States.  Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. makes no representation that this Website is governed by or operated in accordance with the laws of other nations.  By using this Website and submitting any personal information, visitors from outside of the United States acknowledge this Website is subject to U.S. law, consent to the transfer of personal data to the U.S., and waive any claims that may arise under their own national laws.