By Tal McThenia, Margaret Dunbar Cutright
A CASE FOR SOLOMON: BOBBY DUNBAR AND the abduction THAT HAUNTED A kingdom chronicles the most celebrated—and such a lot misunderstood—kidnapping situations in American background. In 1912, four-year-old Bobby Dunbar, the son of an upper-middle-class Louisiana kin, went lacking within the swamps. After an eight-month seek that electrified the rustic and destroyed Bobby’s mom and dad, the boy was once came upon, filthy and rarely recognizable, within the pinewoods of southern Mississippi. A wandering piano tuner who have been shuttling the kid through the zone through wagon for months was once arrested and charged with kidnapping—a crime that used to be punishable through dying on the time. but if a destitute unmarried mom got here ahead from North Carolina to assert the boy as her son, no longer Bobby Dunbar, the case turned a high-pitched conflict over custody—and identity—that divided the South.
Amid an ever-thickening tangle of suspicion and doubt, moms and a father struggled to claim their rightful parenthood over the kid, either to the general public and to themselves. for 2 years, attorneys dissected and newspapers sensationalized each point of the tale. Psychiatrists, physicians, criminologists, and personal detectives debated the piano tuner’s guilt and the boy’s id. And the entire whereas the boy himself remained notably guarded at the query of who he used to be. It took approximately a century, a interest that have been handed down via generations, and the technology of DNA to find the reality.
A Case for Solomon is a gripping ancient secret, distilled from a trove of private and archival learn. the tale of Bobby Dunbar, fought over via competing New Orleans tabloids, the courts, and the citizenry of 2 states, deals a case examine in yellow journalism, emergent forensic technological know-how, and felony justice within the turn-of-the-century American South. it's a drama of uncooked poverty and tool and an exposÉ of ways that period outlined and defended motherhood, formative years, and neighborhood. First informed in a beautiful episode of nationwide Public Radio’s This American existence, A Case for Solomon chronicles the epic fight to figure out one child’s identification, alongside the way in which probing unsettling questions on the formation of reminiscence, relatives, and self.
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Additional resources for A Case for Solomon: Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping That Haunted a Nation
He had been banged up for years, but before that he had been one of the hardest men in the Smoke, amassing a fortune that no one seemed able to find. He was David’s idol growing up, and his father had told him many a story of the man’s heroic exploits. In honour of the occasion his suit was freshly cleaned, and his shirt and tie were brand new. He knew he looked good − a keen body builder, he took care of himself in every way. The birth of his first child – a little girl called Mae − had given him an added impetus to do well for himself.
He couldn’t admit it, of course, but he felt a trickle of fear at being allowed home. After so long he knew this was natural. But fear was an alien concept to him, and he felt it acutely. H e wanted to get out, that was a nobrainer, but it was how the world would be now that bothered him. He had been away a long time and he had not had access to the outside world except through visitors and going to his boy’s funeral. It was a completely different world he was going back to. He had read the papers, educated himself, absorbed every piece of information that he could lay his hands on, but the bottom line was he had no real idea of how the world had changed.
Even though they had spent one precious night together, and he had done murder for her that day, part of her had held a grudge for what he had cost her. Would they get past it? Could they really take up their lives again after all this time? Well, tonight she would know the answers. She got out of her bed and went through to her kitchen. As she put the kettle on she looked out of the window; dawn was breaking and lighting up the sky. How different her view was now from when she was a girl growing up on an East London council estate.
A Case for Solomon: Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping That Haunted a Nation by Tal McThenia, Margaret Dunbar Cutright