Manage episode 359231813 series 2476860
In 1912, four-year-old Bobby Dunbar went missing in the Louisiana swamps. After an eight-month search that electrified the country and destroyed Bobby’s parents, the boy was found, filthy and hardly recognizable. A wandering piano tuner was arrested and charged with kidnapping— a crime then punishable by death.
But when a destitute single mother came forward from North Carolina to claim the boy as her son, not the lost Bobby Dunbar, the case became a high-pitched battle over custody—and identity—that divided the South.
My guest, Tal McThenia,first introduced listeners of NPR's This American Life to this case in 2008. A few years later he co-wrote, along with Margaret Dunbar Cutright (the granddaughter of Bobby Dunbar) the definitive book about this historical whodunnit, called "A Case for Solomon: Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping That Haunted a Nation".
The author's website: https://www.talmcthenia.com/
Listen to This American Life's "The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar" here: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/352/transcript
The author's recent Audubon article: https://www.audubon.org/magazine/fall-2021/the-strange-true-story-john-williams-and-charles
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