Who abducted two young boys from a playground in Harlem, and could they still be alive after 30 years?
In 1989, Allison Dansby lives in the Martin Luther King Jr. apartments in Harlem with her mother and two children, Christopher and Levon. On May 18th, at around 6:30pm, the family goes to the playground adjacent to the MLK Towers. Allison leaves the kids with her mom while she walks to the grocery store. A half hour later, she returns to find Christopher is missing. That night, police comb a 24-square block area of Harlem and canvas the 10 multi-story buildings of the King Towers complex, going door to door asking if anyone has seen Christopher. The next day, police dogs are dispatched, and a scuba diving team searches the Harlem Meer – a shallow, manmade pond at the north end of Central Park. Despite these efforts, Christopher Dansby is not found.
Three months later, on August 10, 1989, Rosa Glover brings her 19-month-old-son, Shane Walker, to the same playground. Like Allison, Rosa lives in the MLK apartments, but was at Disneyworld with Shane when Christopher disappeared and has no idea a child has been abducted from the park. When they arrive at the park, a 10-year-old girl and her 5-year-old brother ask if they can play with Shane. Rosa says, “He’s a little young, but yes, you can play with him.” Shortly after, a man sits down on the bench next to Rosa and starts talking about how parents don’t pay enough attention to their children. This distracts Rosa for a minute or two, and when Rosa turns around, Shane and the other two children are gone. As she frantically searches for Shane, Rosa sees the boy and girl in the playground without Shane, and they claim they have no idea what happened to him. Within two hours, 200 police officers descend on the park to search for little Shane. Again, police canvas the apartment buildings and every building for 13 blocks. The two children who last saw Shane are questioned extensively, as is the man who was sitting next to Rosa on the bench. But there is nothing to implicate them in the abduction. Despite months of exhaustive searches, not a single trace of Shane surfaces.
What puzzles Robert Lowery of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is that both of these cases involve young male children–typically, it is girls who are abducted. Lowery believes these children may be alive and that they were abducted by someone who wanted a child. It’s highly probable that whomever took the toddlers raised them far away from New York City. Lowery believes that at this point, Christopher and Shane are old enough to be asking questions about their true identity. One piece of evidence these kids can’t ignore is that their birth certificates are likely fraudulent. He says, “There is always hope these children will be found.”