No unsolved mystery is more heartbreaking than the disappearance of an infant. It is an incredibly painful experience for a parent to bring a child into the world and only enjoy a limited amount of time with them before they go missing and are never heard from again. But in this type of case, at least there’s always a decent possibility that the victim is still alive. Whenever an infant is abducted, it’s often done by someone who wants to raise the child as their own, or sell the baby for the purposes of illegal adoption. The child can grow up and live a seemingly normal life without knowing that they were stolen from their real family.
A recent example of this was when a 23-year-old woman named Carlina White discovered that the woman she thought was her mother had actually abducted her from a hospital when she was only 19 days old. In the end, she finally got to reunite with her biological parents. In some of the following cases, the parents themselves have been suspected of causing their child’s disappearance, but there’s always a chance these missing infants might still be alive somewhere.
10 Marlene Santana
On October 18, 1985, Francesca Santana gave birth to a little girl named Marlene at Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn. Three days later, Francesca was viewing her newborn baby in the nursery when an unidentified Hispanic-looking woman in her late twenties started a conversation with her and commented that Marlene was the prettiest baby there. Later that night, Francesca and two of her relatives were leaving the hospital with Marlene when she was confronted outside by this same woman, who pulled a gun on them and forced them to walk six blocks to a deserted junkyard.
The woman ordered Francesca to hand over the baby. After the assailant pointed her gun directly at Marlene and threatened to shoot her, Francesca complied with her demand. Francesca and her relatives barely had time to react before the woman took Marlene, jumped into a nearby car driven by an accomplice, and sped away. Authorities speculated that Marlene was either sold for adoption or that the woman responsible was unable to have children and decided to steal a baby whom she could raise as her own. Sadly, over 27 years have passed and Marlene Santana remains missing.
9 Raymond Lamar Green
Donna Green gave birth to a son named Raymond on November 1, 1978 at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. While viewing her newborn in the nursery, Donna met an African-American woman who called herself “Lisa Morris.” She claimed she was there visiting her sister, who had just given birth. Donna conversed with this woman on numerous occasions before being discharged from the hospital and taking Raymond home.
On November 6, Morris made a surprise visit to Donna’s apartment, claiming she wanted to see how Raymond was doing. Donna let her in to see the baby, and since her brother Tony was also there at the time, Donna felt comfortable leaving the room to take a shower for three minutes while Morris was visiting. However, when Donna emerged from the shower, Tony claimed that Morris had taken Raymond outside after he started crying. Donna went to look for them, but was told by a neighbor that Morris had climbed into a vehicle and driven away with Raymond. After contacting the police, Donna found out the name “Lisa Morris” was false and that no one fitting her description had a sister who had given birth at that hospital. The woman’s identity remains a mystery, and unfortunately, Raymond Lamar Green’s whereabouts are still unknown.
8 Bryan Dos Santos-Gomes
In Fort Myers, Florida, on December 1, 2006, Maria de Fatima Ramos Dos Santos was waiting at the bus stop with her three-week-old son Bryan and a female friend when a Hispanic woman pulled up in an SUV asking for directions. When Maria and her friend eventually got on the bus, the woman followed them and asked for directions again after they got off at their stop. They decided to climb into the vehicle to help the woman when they were suddenly abducted. Maria took note of the fact that the SUV already had a car seat and diaper bag inside. The woman drove them to Estero and demanded $500 before dropping Maria and her friend off and driving away with Bryan.
Maria and her husband, Jurandir Gomes Costa, are originally from a village in Brazil, and they paid human traffickers to smuggle them into the United States. It was initially suspected that Bryan was abducted because Jurandir had fallen behind in his payments to them. However, police soon leaned toward Bryan’s abduction being a random crime after another Fort Myers woman came forward and described a similar incident. On the day of Bryan’s abduction, she had been out walking with her infant grandchild when this same Hispanic woman pulled up in an SUV asking for directions. It’s believed that the woman might have been looking to steal a child she could raise as her own, but neither Bryan nor his abductor have ever been found.
7 Melissa McGuinn
Rebecca and Robert McGuinn lived in Trenton, New Jersey, with their seven-month-old daughter Melissa and two roommates, one of whom was 30-year-old Wanda Faye Reed. On March 6, 1988, Wanda asked Rebecca if she could take Melissa for a walk and was given permission to do so. Wanda left and returned eight minutes later with a neighbor, but Melissa was not with her. Wanda was mentally disabled and functioned at the level of a four-year-old child, so she wound up giving conflicting stories about what happened to Melissa.
At first, she claimed that an unidentified African-American man knocked her down and stole the baby. Wanda then said she dropped Melissa in the Delaware River before changing her story again and claiming that the neighbor she was with had exchanged the baby for drugs. The neighbor was investigated and nothing was found to support Wanda’s accusations, and her story about the Delaware River was discounted since Wanda could not have walked there and back during the eight-minute period she was away. It was speculated that Wanda might have deliberately harmed Melissa because she was jealous of the attention she had been receiving. Wanda was charged with kidnapping, but was found mentally incompetent to stand trial. The charges were dropped and she was sent to live in an institution for mentally disabled individuals. Sadly, after 25 years, there are still no answers about what she did with Melissa McGuinn.
6 Sabrina Aisenberg
In Valrico, Florida, on the morning of November 24, 1997, Marlene Aisenberg awoke to discover that her four-month-old daughter Sabrina was missing from her crib. A blue and yellow blanket belonging to Sabrina also disappeared along with her. The garage door had been left open during the night, one of the doors to the Aisenberg residence was unlocked, and a blonde hair and unidentified shoe print were found near the crib. At approximately 1:00 AM, a neighbor was awoken by his barking dog and believed he also heard the sound of a baby crying.
While there was some evidence to suggest Sabrina had been abducted, authorities found it suspicious that neither Marlene nor her husband, Steve, heard an intruder entering the house during the night, and the family dog also never reacted. Controversy ensued after authorities decided to bug the Aisenberg home with listening devices and supposedly recorded Marlene and Steve stating that their daughter was dead. The Aisenbergs were both indicted on conspiracy charges in 1999, but the recordings were not audible enough to make out their supposedly incriminating conversation. It was also discovered that investigators had lied to a judge in order to gain permission to bug the Aisenberg residence, so the couple was eventually cleared of all charges. While the Aisenbergs have never officially been ruled out as suspects in their daughter’s disappearance, there is no evidence to suggest they were responsible. Sadly, after more than 15 years, there are still no answers about what happened to Sabrina.
5 Christopher Abeyta
In the early morning hours of July 15, 1986, Colorado Springs residents Gil and Bernice Abeyta discovered that their seven-month-old son Christopher was missing from his crib. The couple last saw Christopher after putting him to bed at midnight, and the front door had been left unlocked. Some suspicion initially fell upon the parents. Gil and Bernice were in the midst of reconciling after a separation, and this particular night just happened to be the first time in a while that Gil was staying over at their home. However, the Abeytas have never officially been named as suspects in their son’s disappearance, and the investigative efforts of the Colorado Springs police faced heavy criticism since they eventually destroyed most of the evidence in the case.
Christopher’s parents believe he was abducted and claimed to have received numerous hang-up phone calls for six months prior to his disappearance, which immediately came to a halt before resuming months later. These calls were eventually traced to a woman named Emma Bradshaw, whom Gil had been having an affair with. Because she had a prior history of break-ins, Bradshaw is considered the prime suspect, though she has always maintained her innocence. Nearly 27 years later, the Abeyta family maintains a website about Christopher’s disappearance and are currently offering a $100,000 reward for information that will finally provide them with closure.
4 David Blockett
David Blockett was only two weeks old on December 11, 1980 when an African-American woman calling herself “Marie Kelly” visited his family’s home in Newport News, Virginia. Kelly told David’s mother, Vanessa, that she was from the Department of Social Services and that they were sponsoring a function for children at a nearby medical center. She managed to convince Vanessa to let her take David and his two-year-old brother Frederick to the function. Later that afternoon, Frederick was found wandering around alone at a shopping center. He had a note in his pocket with his name and address on it.
Frederick was returned to his mother, but there was no sign of David. A check with the Department of Social Services revealed that no one named Marie Kelly worked for them, nor did they have any employees matching her description. Once he got older, Frederick had vague recollections of the abduction and seems to remember the woman meeting up with a male accomplice. In a bizarre postscript to this story, two of David’s nephews also wound up being abducted over 30 years later, though they were soon found unharmed. Sadly, the same thing has yet to be said for David himself, and he remains missing.
3 Kamiyah Mobley
On the morning of July 10, 1998, Shanara Mobley gave birth to a little girl named Kamiyah at University Medical Center in Jacksonville, Florida. Throughout the day, she had frequent encounters with an unidentified African-American nurse. About eight hours after Kamiyah was born, this nurse said there was a problem with the baby’s temperature and took her out of the room. They apparently left the hospital together because this is the last anyone ever saw of Kamiyah or the nurse.
Even though the woman had worn a nurse’s uniform and an identification badge, the hospital had no record of her working there. It’s speculated that she may have had previous hospital experience since she seemed to have knowledge of medical terminology and the building’s layout. When she was not posing as a nurse, the woman was passing herself off as a member of the Mobley family to the hospital staff, and she frequently asked them when the baby would be leaving the nursery. Shanara eventually sued the hospital over her daughter’s abduction and received a $1.5 million settlement. It’s believed that the unidentified woman was scouting for a child she could abduct and raise as her own. If Kamiyah Mobley is still alive today, she is 15 years old and probably completely unaware of her true identity.
2 Lisa Irwin
Jeremy Irwin returned to his Kansas City, Missouri home at 4:00 AM on the morning of October 4, 2011, and noticed that his 10-month-old daughter, Lisa, was missing from her crib. Lisa’s mother, Deborah Bradley, claimed she had last seen her after putting her to bed the night before. Jeremy was also surprised to discover that several of his house’s lights were on, the front door was unlocked, Lisa’s bedroom window was open, and three cell phones were missing. Deborah had also gotten drunk that night and soon faced suspicion that she was responsible for Lisa’s disappearance.
Police accused Deborah of failing a lie detector test and had a cadaver dog search the Irwin home. They claimed that the dog turned up the scent of a dead body near Deborah’s bed, but they never took any material from the home for further testing or presented any evidence to support their claim. Lisa’s family believes she was abducted, and this theory has been supported by three witnesses who claimed they saw an unidentified man walking down a road five kilometers (three miles) away from the Irwin home that night, carrying a baby wearing nothing but a diaper. One month after Lisa’s disappearance, Jeremy claimed his debit card was stolen, and in May 2012, it was reportedly used on a website that provides false birth certificates. Authorities have investigated these leads, but have yet to find out what happened to Lisa Irwin.
1 Mary Agnes Moroney
In 1930, Michael and Catherine Moroney lived in Chicago with their daughters, Anastasia and Mary Agnes, who had just turned two years old. Michael posted an ad for a social services person to help take care of his family, and on May 14, a woman calling herself Julia Otis showed up at their home, claiming she’d been sent by a social worker named Mrs. Henderson. The next day, she offered to take Mary Agnes shopping for clothes, and her parents consented. One day later, the Moroneys would receive a letter from Otis, claiming she had taken Mary Agnes to California and would return the child in two months.
Two weeks later, the Moroneys received another letter, this time from a woman named Alice Henderson. She claimed that Julia Otis was her cousin and had kidnapped Mary Agnes because her own husband and baby had died the year before. The Moroneys never heard from Otis or Henderson again, but authorities believed both notes had the same handwriting. In 1952, a California woman named Mary McClelland came forward and claimed she was Mary Agnes Moroney. She reunited with her family, but there were suspicions that McClelland was not actually Mary Agnes since she did not have the child’s hernia scar, and a doctor claimed to have delivered McClelland the year before Mary Agnes was born. Decades later, after McClelland died, DNA testing confirmed that she was not actually Mary Agnes Moroney.
Robin Warder is a budding Canadian screenwriter who has used his encyclopaedic movie knowledge to publish numerous articles at Cracked.com. He is also the co-owner of a pop culture website called The Back Row and recently worked on a sci-fi short film called “Jet Ranger of Another Tomorrow.” Feel free to contact him here.