Christopher Dansby was just 2 years old when he vanished in New York in 1989. His disappearance remains unsolved to this day.

Dansby disappeared while in a play park. Despite a widescale search, his whereabouts remain unknown, with many questions left unanswered.

This article reviews this disappearance. There is a reader’s poll at the end of the article, which we invite you to vote on. We will then be able to see what the consensus is among our readers as to what happened.

Christopher Dansby disappeared from a park in New York

Background

Christopher Dansby was aged 2 at the time of his disappearance. He had an older brother called Levon. They lived with their mother Allison – who was just 26 at the time.

The family lived amongst the Martin Luther King Towers in Central Harlem, New York. During the 1980s, New York was beset by crime, violence, and the illegal drugs trade.

Despite this, the Dansby family were a happy group, with the mother Allison being a devoted mother to her young boys.

The Disappearance

On Thursday 18th May 1989, Allison, her mother and sister took Christopher and Levon to a nearby park. The park was centrally located and surrounded by the aforementioned towers, meaning it was overlooked and had plenty of entrances and exits.

Allison decided to leave Christopher with her mother while she went to a nearby shop. She returned 30 minutes later, but to her horror, could not see Christopher anywhere.

When asking her sister and mother where Christopher was, they had thought the other one was watching him. Panic quickly settled in as they realised Christopher was nowhere to be seen.

Allison started frantically walking around the park, but could not see Christopher anywhere. Her mother and aunt helped to search. The trio split up to try and find Christopher and cover more ground.

Within a few minutes, the Police were called, with there being no sign of Christopher in or around the park.

The Investigation

The Police quickly arrived on scene. A large search took place, with the focus being on a 24-block radius.

The Police started going from door-to-door in the local area. Unfortunately, the towers were enormous, and featured thousands of residents in a small area. This made it difficult for the Police to cover ground quickly.

While some officers checked the towers, others looked around the area. Over the 24-block radius, small lakes were searched in case Christopher had accidentally walked off. There was no sign of him in any lake.

The search continued into the night, and sniffer dogs were brought in too. A dog did pick up Christopher’s scent, and was able to follow it for almost half a mile. The scent stopped though after the dog reached a certain road.

This led to the Police to believe Christopher was abducted by someone, and that they had put him in a car and driven off with him. In the densely-populated Harlem area, people can easily blend in, including someone with an uncooperative child.

The investigation into Christopher’s disappearance included many resources, with the Police doing their utmost to find the youngster.

The door-to-door searches raised a lead, when a 7 year old boy who lived in the same neighbourhood as Christopher said that he had seen Christopher walking with a black male on the day of his disappearance. The Police were unable to trace who this male was. Moreover, they were never able to confirm that it was a legitimate sighting.

The day after the disappearance, Christopher’s cousin believed that he saw Christopher with a man near his school – with Christopher still in the same clothes from the day before. The Police were alerted, but found no sign of either. Again, it isn’t known if this was really Christopher.

The Police interviewed Milton Robbins – who was Christopher’s father. Milton lived in Florida at the time, but was known to visit New York from time to time. However, the interview indicated that there was no involvement from Milton – who helped to try and raise awareness of the disappearance.

The investigation was also impacted by another abduction that took place in the same play park just three months later. A 19 month old boy named Shane Walker disappeared. The Police believed the two cases were connected.

Both Christopher and Shane were young black toddlers. Moreover, they both disappeared from the same park – both on a Thursday, and at a similar time of day.

A task force was set up to try and find Christopher and Shane. This involved the Police looking at local sex offenders, but this failed to bring up any leads.

Residents believed that a baby-selling ring was active in the area. However, investigations by the Police failed to find any sign of this.

Sadly, as with so many cases, as the weeks and then months went by, there were no leads on Christopher’s disappearance. The case eventually went cold.

Later Developments

There have been very few developments in the Christopher Dansby case. For his family, there are many questions left unanswered.

There have been some reported sightings of Christopher around the United States, but none of these have proven to be accurate.

The disappearance reached new audiences when it was featured on an episode of Netflix’s show Unsolved Mysteries, which included an interview with Allison Dansby – the mother of Christopher.

Allison spoke candidly of her regrets about the day, and the hurt that she continues to experience. To her credit, Allison has remained very strong.

Some people have argued that there was a lack of media attention given to this case. In fact, some have cited this as an example of “Missing White Woman Syndrome“, which suggests disappearances involving white women have far more media coverage than those of black people or men.

Both the Christopher Dansby and Shane Walker cases remain unsolved, with neither children having been seen since 1989.

Picture Credit: NETFLIX. The two cases are believed to be linked.

Theories

There are many theories surrounding Christopher’s disappearance. Each of them have some evidence for them, but nothing is conclusive.

We take a look at the evidence for each theory:

Theory One: Christopher Dansby was abducted by a stranger and later killed

Arguably the most likely outcome was that Christopher was abducted by a stranger. In a busy park, it would only need a split second for someone to lure a young boy away.

Sadly, child abductions do happen. It is possible that the same perpetrator then struck again a few months later with Shane Walker.

If we think of the sniffer dog and how it was able to capture Christopher’s scent until reaching a road – this could be explained if Christopher was driven away by the abductor. Taking a child, putting them into a vehicle and then driving off could all be done in a short amount of time.

Unfortunately, it is likely that the child was soon killed, and their body disposed of by the perpetrator.

Theory Two: Christopher Dansby‘s Family was involved in an abduction

Following on from the above theory, it has been proposed that a member of Christopher’s family could have played a role in an abduction.

Christopher’s mother Allison has said that he was cautious around strangers, and would not have gone off with a stranger. With this in mind – it might be a case that Christopher went off with a familiar face – such as a family member.

This could be any relative, including an uncle or aunt. There have been some suggestions that his father Milton could have been responsible – but the Police ruled this possibility out.

If this was the case of what happened, then Christopher’s fate is unknown. Sadly, it would be unlikely that he is still alive.

Theory Three: Christopher Dansby was abducted but is still alive

The investigators suggested that it was possible that Christopher was snatched by someone that could not have children – and therefore resorted to extreme measures to get a child.

As Christopher was so young, he could feasibly have grown up and forgotten that he ever had a different mother. The person may have abducted the child and then acted as their mother or father and raised them as if it were their own.

If this is the case, then Christopher may be out there – albeit unaware of who they really are. This is a possibility, as there have been cases where people have solved their own disappearance – with Carlina White being a high-profile example.

The release of age progression photos in cases like these can help to locate people. If this is true, then Christopher may one day realise who he is, and come back to his old life.

Theory Four: Christopher Dansby walked off on his own and died

Christopher may have walked off on his own accord and eventually died. There is very little evidence for this, but could at least explain his disappearance.

However, it is unlikely that Christopher would have gotten far without a member of the public stepping in. Also, given the large searches that took place, it is unlikely that he would not have been found.

Theory Five: Christopher Dansby was a the victim of a baby-selling ring

Local residents in the area had the belief that Christopher, and later Shane, were the victims of a baby-selling ring. Human trafficking does sadly exist – and children can be a part of this.

The Police did investigate this line of enquiry, but did not find any evidence to suggest this theory was accurate. Some may also argue that it is a far-fetched theory.

But if this theory is true, then Christopher may still be alive, yet unaware of who he truly is. Given the similarities with this and Shane’s case, it is a feasible idea.

Reader Vote

With the above theories in mind, we now invite you to cast your vote on the theory that you believe is most likely in the poll below.

What Happened to Christopher Dansby?
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Summary

The disappearance of Christopher Dansby has resulted in many unanswered questions. For his family, it has been a torturous situation.

Whether or not we will ever know what happened to Christopher is unknown. Hope remains that one day we will get an answer.

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