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Real Name: Christopher Milton Dansby
Nicknames: Choo-Choo (or Chu-Chu), Chris
Location: Manhattan, New York
Date: May 18, 1989

Bio[]

Occupation: None
Date of Birth: March 30, 1987
Height: 2'6"
Weight: 30 lbs.
Marital Status: Minor
Characteristics: Black male with black hair and brown eyes. He has a birthmark shaped like a figure eight on his right leg and a burn scar on his thigh. At the time of his disappearance, he was wearing a blue jacket, a floral print shirt, blue jeans, and green and white sneakers.

Case[]

Details: Christopher Dansby is the son of Milton Wescot Robbins and Allison Dansby. In the 1980s, Allison, her mother Elizabeth Manley, her siblings, and her cousins all lived in the same apartment building in the Martin Luther King Jr. Towers complex in Central Harlem, Manhattan, New York. She says, "'it takes a village to raise a family,' and that's what it was."
Reporter Mary Murphy says the 1980s were considered a "bad time" for New York City, with robberies, assaults, etc. There were a lot of "junkies" and drug addicts in the streets. When Police Inspector Ken Lindahl arrived in the area in 1989, Harlem was one of the "tough" areas. He says it was a very violent place. However, there were also a lot of working people there that were just trying to survive. He says there were a lot of decent folks there.
Valdree Manley, a Harlem resident and relative of Christopher's, says there were a lot of children and families there. There were people trying to go to work, come home, and make a living for their families. They were striving to do the best they could for their families. Valdree remembers that the community was close-knit.
In 1989, Allison was twenty-six and had two sons: three-year-old Levon and two-year-old Christopher. Levon's nickname was "Pancho" and Christopher's was "Choo-Choo." Their aunt (and Allison's sister), Carolyn Manley, says she still calls them by their nicknames. She says Christopher was very attached to her as well as Allison. He and Allison were very close. Carolyn says he would not just go with anybody. When Allison would walk into a room, he would just "light up." She says he liked to cuddle. By the age of two, he was already talking. He would say words like "mama" and "Levon."
Christopher always wanted to be outside. Allison says that was one of the things they did; they would go outside, sit on the bench, and walk over to the park. The park was actually part of the complex. It was located at 113th Street and Lenox Avenue.
On Thursday, May 18, 1989, at around 6:30pm, Allison, Christopher, and Levon walked to the park. They went down the slide a couple of times. She says Christopher had a blast that day. He was not able to go down the big slide by himself, so she slid down with him. She says he really liked the slides. Elizabeth, Carolyn, and some other relatives also came to the park that day. Carolyn says Christopher was always happy to be outside. She remembers it was hot that day, so "everybody" was in the park. It was very crowded.
Carolyn says she can never forget that day. It is something that has lived with her ever since. Allison says after she and Christopher walked around the park, she decided to go to the store to buy crabs for dinner. Carolyn says that was a normal thing they did. They would go to the park, then go to the store and get the kids something. Since Allison did not have Christopher's stroller, she left him and Levon with Elizabeth. Several other adults were with them. Before leaving the park, Allison hugged and kissed Christopher goodbye. She told him she would be right back. He told her, "I love you, Mommy."
Thirty minutes later, Allison returned to the park. She remembers it was still crowded. She started looking around for Elizabeth and her sons. Elizabeth and Levon were there, but Christopher was not. She started asking around to see if anyone had seen him. The people at the park started looking, too, saying, "Oh, he's here." Allison kept looking around, but she did not see him. She walked around the park but she still did not see him.
Allison asked Carolyn where Christopher was. Carolyn says she had him one minute, but someone else had him the next. She says there were about five of them in the park watching the kids. One of them remembers seeing him playing with a red ball; however, he had not brought one to the park that day. Elizabeth says she saw him playing with his young cousin. She looked away for a few minutes to talk to a friend; when she looked back, Christopher was gone. The cousin says he and Christopher went their separate ways while playing; he did not see him after that. The adults split up to search for him. Some people went to the opposite side of the park. Allison went to the 115th Street side.
As they continued to search, Allison realized something was wrong. She started getting really anxious and nervous. She did not know what had happened to Christopher. She ran up and down the nearby streets but could not find any trace of him. Carolyn says it was overwhelming, frightening, and shocking. They were all panicked. One minute, Christopher was there. The next minute, he was gone.
The police were called. Officers rushed to the park. Inspector Lindahl says everyone took the case seriously. It was an "all-hands" type of police job. He knew the first few minutes and hours of a child's disappearance were the most important. The first step was an initial canvas of the area. Police were on the streets, asking passers-by, in the hopes that someone saw something out of the ordinary. They also did a building-by-building search. They knocked on doors and offered a reward for information. They looked in apartments for anything "untoward", such as blood or signs of a struggle or violence.
There were ten towers in the complex. Each one has about fourteen floors. Each floor has multiple apartments. It was difficult to search the entire complex for Christopher in a timely fashion. Inspector Lindahl notes there were a lot of people in this relatively small area. He says the magnitude of the search that day and the following days would have been a lot of work. But, when there is a missing child, they have to do what needs to be done.
Carolyn remembers there being cops all around the place. Then, there were helicopters circling the area. She says what was happening was unbelievable. The search area for Christopher was twenty-four blocks. It was fairly close to Harlem Meer, a shallow, man-made pond located at the north end of Central Park. Police feared he may have fallen into it and drowned. Scuba teams searched it, but nothing was found.
Carolyn says they were scared and devastated; they could not understand where Christopher could be. They did not think he had walked off by himself. Allison remembers bringing some of his clothes uptown. The police had search dogs; they used the clothes to try and get his scent. The dog picked up his scent and went south on Lenox Avenue from the park to 110th Street. Then, the dog lost his scent. After a couple of hours had passed, Allison started thinking the worst. She could not believe it was actually happening.
Inspector Lindahl says there is an entrance to the park on Lenox Avenue. There was a hole in the park fence where a lot of the children would come and go. So, there were a lot of entrances and exits to the park. It is located on a very busy street. Inspector Lindahl says someone could have put Christopher in a cab or a car and taken off to parts unknown. Allison thinks Christopher might have somehow been coaxed into something. But she does not believe he would willingly take someone's hand and walk off with them. She believes that if he was crying as he was being taken away, witnesses may not have realized the severity of the situation, since children cry under normal circumstances. She is sure that he was crying as this was taking place.
Allison says the park is not a happy place for her to be. She still cannot comprehend how or why this happened, or who was responsible. Inspector Lindahl also wondered what the reason was for Christopher's disappearance. He notes that it could have been a family member. He says, "family relationships can be volatile, and in volatile circumstances, innocent people who cannot defend themselves become the target and the focus for all the hostility between adults in the family."
Inspector Lindahl wondered if the disappearance had been the result of a custody issue between Christopher's parents. Allison says his father, Milton, was living in Florida at the time. He was not involved in Christopher's life, but he came back up after the disappearance. He met with the police and cooperated with them. Inspector Lindahl says there was no indication Milton was involved in any way in the case. They were able to verify that he was in Florida at the time. As a result, the police were back to square one.
Police started looking at other theories. They wondered if it was a drug-related situation. Allison did have a problem with drugs in the past. She says she was addicted to crack cocaine but was in recovery at the time of Christopher's disappearance. She has a lot of guilt and shame regarding it.
Carolyn says that Allison's lifestyle at the time had nothing to do with Christopher being taken away. But people did not see it that way. According to Carolyn, people accused the family and blamed them for the disappearance. Some people alleged that either Allison sold him for drugs or he was taken due to a drug debt.
Allison says she was an addict, but she also loved her children. She says she would never hurt them or do anything to put them in harm's way. So, when Christopher disappeared, it was like a nightmare for her. She could not believe it had happened, but it did. The family later took lie detector tests, but the results were inconclusive. A vendor confirmed that Allison came to his store and bought crabs that day.
A seven-year-old boy from Christopher's neighborhood later told police that he saw Christopher walking on West 111th Street later that day. He was accompanied by a Black male. However, police were never able to determine who the man was. The day after Christopher disappeared, his cousin reportedly saw him walking with a man near the cousin's school. The man had Christopher by the hand. Christopher was wearing the same clothes he had on the day before. His cousin went to the principal to report what he had seen. Police were called; however, no trace of Christopher or the man was found.
Three months passed. Rosa Glover says she had no idea that a boy had gone missing at the park until her son, Shane Walker, went missing there. They had been in Disneyworld at the time of Christopher's disappearance. She says if she knew that, she never would have taken him there. They also lived in the complex. Shane's father, James Walker, lived nearby.
At the time, Shane was nineteen months old, and Rosa was thirty-five. She thought she could never have children until she became pregnant with him. She called him her "special boy." At the time of his disappearance, he still was not talking; he was mostly "sucking bottles." He liked Teddy bears and monkeys. She usually gave him rattles to play with so that she would be able to clean up the room.
Rosa never cut Shane's hair; she always braided it up and put it back. She told him she was not going to cut it until he turned two. Sadly, she never got the chance to do that. She says she normally worked as a cook five days a week and had two days off. On those days off, she always took Shane to the park that was located in the complex.
On Thursday, August 10, 1989, at 5pm, Rosa took Shane to the park. It was very busy and crowded. She always took him late in the afternoon. Before going to the park, they went to the store. She bought him some chips so he could eat them while they were at the park. When they came in through the park's gate, two young children came up to them: a ten-year-old girl and her six-year-old brother. They said they wanted to play with him. First, Rosa told them to leave her and Shane alone. But they insisted they wanted to play with him. She told them he was too young, but they said they did not mind. She does not know why they insisted so much.
Finally, at around 5:20pm, Rosa relented, saying, "Yeah, go ahead, he's going on the slide." The kids took Shane to the slide. Rosa went and sat on the bench. A few moments later, a man came over and sat next to her. He started talking to her about how parents do not pay enough attention to their children. He talked about crime and even mentioned kidnapping, saying "things happen to children." He then showed her the scars he said he had gotten in fights.
Rosa turned her head briefly to look at the man's scars. When she turned back a few moments later, she realized Shane and the other kids were not there. She got up and started looking around for them. She screamed and hollered for Shane. She looked throughout the park but could not find him.
About three minutes later, the kids that were with Shane came through a hole in the park's wire fence. He was not with them. Rosa asked, "What did you do with my son?" They said they left him in the park. She said, "If you left him in the park, he would have been in the park." But they insisted they left him there. Rosa ran around the park and surrounding areas. She continued to yell for him. People at the park helped her look for him. But he was not there.
Rosa took the kids to the police station to report Shane missing. Inspector Lindahl says there was considerable concern from headquarters as well as locally. They could not understand what was going on. He notes the times of the day were similar (Shane at 5pm and Christopher at 7pm); the day of the week was the same (Thursday); it was a similar time of year (May and August); it was still light out on both days; there were a lot of people in the park both days; both children were last seen in the same part of the park; they were both Black male toddlers; and they lived in the same apartment building at 41 West 112th Street. Police felt there were way too many similarities between the cases.
Once again, an immediate search of the area was conducted, this time by nearly 200 uniformed officers. There were massive amounts of interviews. There were canvases of the buildings in the complex. Detectives and uniformed officers looked in dumpsters and garbage chutes. They went through the garbage. But there was no sign of Shane.
Police searched every building in the complex from rooftop to basement. They searched every apartment multiple times. They checked elevator shafts and locked rooms. They received a tip that Shane was buried somewhere in the complex. They "tore the whole place apart" but nothing was found. They checked nearby sewers and building air shafts. Abandoned buildings were knocked down in the search for him. Again, no trace of him was found. But Inspector Lindahl says that shows the lengths police went to try and solve the cases.
Rosa says Shane was normally terrified of strangers and would yell and scream if anyone approached him. That day was the first time she had ever let him play with anybody else. She normally did not let him play with other kids. It was just her and him. She thinks that the two kids that were playing with him took him out of the park. She thinks they took him to someone, and that person covered his mouth and took him away.
The kids that were with Shane were interviewed at length by police. Police suspected the kids had acted as "decoys" and that somebody had stolen Shane. But both kids said they only played with him. They said they turned around and he went off and played in another part of the park. The parents of the kids were also interviewed. Inspector Lindahl says they were checked out and there was no indication that they were involved in any way.
The man sitting next to Rosa on the bench was also brought in for questioning. Inspector Lindahl says he was checked out completely. There was no indication that he was involved in any way with Shane's disappearance. Police questioned Rosa, James, and their relatives. They wondered if a family member had taken Shane from the park. James was interviewed for several hours and was given a polygraph test. However, no evidence was found to implicate any family members in the disappearance.
Police continued on with their investigation. There was a $30,000 reward requesting information. A task force was started; several people from the specialty units were assigned to it. Sound trucks went through the neighborhoods, asking anyone with information about the cases to call the police hotline. However, many neighborhood residents were reportedly not cooperative.
Allison was shocked when she learned that another child had disappeared from the park. She says it was like she was living it all over again. She could not understand how it could happen twice in the same community, in the same complex.
Rosa says it has been hard not to blame herself for Shane's disappearance, especially since she was there when it happened. She feels like she let someone take her kid. Allison did not know Rosa, but she empathized with her since she knew what she was dealing with. They were both mothers who loved their sons and let them play in the park. Allison believes the same people that took Christopher came back and took Shane.
Inspector Lindahl says the "worst-case scenario" is that the abductor was a pedophile or serial killer. He says it is awful to consider that someone would want to harm a young child. But, it was something they had to look into. They checked out 200 known pedophiles, child molesters, and sex offenders. Murphy says after Shane went missing, it seemed like the NYPD escalated things. In most cases, when a child goes missing, they are found quickly. It is highly unusual not to find babies that go missing.
Around that time, Murphy started hearing talk about a possible "baby-selling ring." Harlem residents began wondering if the children were being abducted and sold on the "black market." There were rumors that the children were being taken to childless couples in the South. Another missing Black child, Andre Bryant, was also suspected to have been sold in this operation. His mother, Monique Rivera, was found murdered in Brooklyn on March 29, 1989; he has never been found.
Inspector Lindahl says the possibility that someone was selling black infants or young boys was explored. He says while it is an interesting theory, it is not likely. He thinks it is very difficult to pay someone to steal a baby. There was nothing that surfaced to indicate that was going on. Officials with child adoption services noted that it was not difficult to adopt a black child in New York.
Rosa says two detectives came every day to her apartment. The phones were tapped in case anybody called. Cops were in her house 24/7. Unfortunately, they did not come up with anything. No one ever called either family for ransom. Murphy says that part of Harlem is so densely populated that she does not think it is unusual that Christopher and Shane vanished into thin air. The amount of people would have made it easy for their abductors to take them and disappear. The disappearances also occurred before surveillance cameras were common.
Inspector Lindahl says it was frustrating, especially when there were no leads. They had no bodies, just two missing children. They hoped that the children had survived the abductions. There have been reported sightings of the children throughout the United States and the Caribbean.
Murphy thinks it is very possible that the children are still alive. She thinks they were probably taken by people who could not have children, people who were desperate to have a baby. Inspector Lindahl says there are people who cannot have their own children but still want to experience parenthood. And, for whatever reason, they do not have the ability to adopt in a normal sense; instead, they abduct a child to raise as their own. He suspects the children were raised far from New York City. They probably have fraudulent birth certificates.
Robert Lowery, Vice President of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (or NCMEC), says after thirty years, the likelihood of finding a child alive and well is remote. However, the center has learned to never give up on these missing children, as they have seen "amazing" things happen. One example in New York City is Carlina White.
On August 4, 1987, when Carlina was just nineteen days old, her parents took her to Harlem Hospital. She had a fever of 104 degrees. They met a woman who was dressed as a nurse. She comforted the parents. At some point, while the shifts were changing, the "nurse" smuggled out Carlina. There was a massive manhunt for them. However, Carlina had vanished.
In January 2011, twenty-three years after Carlina's abduction, she was found alive, living under the name Nejdra "Netty" Nance. She had long believed the people who raised her were not her real parents. When she got pregnant in 2004, in order to get medical insurance, she needed a valid birth certificate. She gave officials her certificate; they told her it was a forgery.
Netty was then told by her "family" that her biological mother had abandoned her. Still suspicious, she started researching online and saw a picture of Carlina as an infant. The picture strongly resembled her own child, so she wondered if Carlina was her.
As a result, the NYPD arranged for a DNA sample to be taken from Netty. It confirmed that she was Carlina. Ann Pettway, the woman who raised Carlina, was arrested and charged with kidnapping. She had wanted to have children. However, she became distraught after a series of miscarriages. That was reportedly the impetus for her to take Carlina. She later pleaded guilty to kidnapping and was sentenced to twelve years in prison.
Allison says it was a blessing to see Carlina's recovery and reunion with her family. It was a good story for her to hear. She hopes that if it can happen for Carlina's family, it can happen for her, too. Lowery says when it comes to infant abduction, they have extremely high hopes that they are going to find the children alive and well. So, Shane and Christopher could very well be alive today, grown and mature. They may have families of their own. Lowery notes it is strange that both of these cases involve young male children – typically, it is young girls that are abducted.
Forensic artist Colin McNally works in the NCMEC's Forensic Imaging Unit. He says that the center's forensic artists have done about 7,000 age progressions since 1989, when the unit was founded. They try to come up with the most accurate version of the children as possible because the goal is to bring them home. Unfortunately, in a lot of ways, the children are "growing up" on the unit's computer screens.
In Christopher's case, age progressions of him have been done in the past. The unit still feels confident in being able to create what he looks like from age two to his late twenties and early thirties. The most recent one of him was done at age thirty. Allison says he has a birthmark on his right leg. It looks like a figure eight.
With Shane's case, McNally had some pretty up-to-date photos of Rosa to work from. Right off the bat, he saw common family characteristics. The process has been done multiple times for Shane over the years. Images were made at age two, eleven, and now thirty (about his current age). Rosa says he has a scar below his chin, which was from him falling. He also has a birthmark behind his right shoulder that looks like a liver.
Every year, the center has a Christmas tree for missing children. They hang pictures of the children on the tree. When they take it down, they send the pictures to the families. Rosa still has those pictures. She says it is comforting to see him around in the pictures. She has fought and survived breast cancer twice; she hopes to find him before it is too late.
Rosa has never given up hope. She feels that Shane is out there somewhere; she just has to find him. She hopes that one day, he will "wake up" and come and find her. She says she would hug him and kiss him and take him away on a vacation just so they could be together. She wants to make up for all of the missed years.
Allison says as a mother of a missing child, some days, she does not want to go on with life. She says it can be really hard. There were many times that she got in a place of heaviness. She says it is not a good feeling. The longing, the wondering, the want to know. She wants answers, something. But she does not have anything. She would not wish it on anyone ever.
Allison says she was raised in the complex. Eventually, she got herself together and moved out. She still goes back sometimes to visit Elizabeth. But, for the most part, it is not a happy place like it used to be. She has three grandchildren now who have an uncle they do not know. She trusts in God that she will one day be reunited with Christopher. She says it is hard to know that she has a child and that she has not had the opportunity to see him grow up. She has missed thirty years of his life. She says it is devastating.
Allison says to Christopher, "We never stopped looking for you. We never stopped. We never stopped loving you. And we're just hoping and praying that you're okay, wherever you're at."
Inspector Lindahl thinks there is hope that Shane and Christopher are alive. He says there have been many cases, like Carlina's, where kids question where they came from and find out who they really are. He hopes that Shane and/or Christopher will do a DNA search and match with their relatives. He hopes that they will be able to reunite Shane and Christopher with their parents.

Christopher dansby suspect sketch

Sketch of suspect in Christopher's case

Suspects: Christopher was last seen walking with an unidentified dark-skinned Black male. He was between twenty-five and thirty years old, 6'0" tall and thin, with dreadlocked hair and a long pink scar on one cheek.
There was some speculation that Christopher's disappearance was related to Allison's drug habit. It was alleged that she either sold him for drugs or he was taken due to a drug debt. Although she admits that she used to use cocaine, she denied that she owed anyone money or that her drug use was related to his disappearance.
Extra Notes:

  • This case was first released on October 19, 2020 as a part of the second volume of the Netflix reboot of Unsolved Mysteries.
  • This case was also previously profiled on America’s Most Wanted.
  • Several sources state that Christopher was last seen playing with the same kids that Shane was last seen playing with. Unsolved Mysteries researchers found nothing in the police reports to indicate that this is true.
  • Some sources state that Christopher's figure eight birth mark is on his back, that his brother's name is Louis, and that the park was located on either 112th or 114th Street.

Results: Unsolved
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