In 1989, Shane Walker, who was just 19 months old, vanished from a play park. The circumstances behind his disappearance have resulted in many questions.

Shane has never been seen since, despite a large search taking place. Several decades later, his disappearance continues to confuse many.

This article analyses this case. There is a reader’s poll at the end of the article, which we hope you partake in. We will all be able to see what the overall opinion is among our readers as to what happened.

Shane Walker vanished from a New York play park


Shane Walker was 19 months old at the time he disappeared. His mother – Rosa Glover – was 35 at the time. The duo lived together.

Rosa had separated from Shane’s father, who was called James. James lived nearby, but had little to do with Shane and Rosa.

The case took place in the 1980s, at a time where New York City was renowned for being a difficult place to live, with crime, violence, and drugs rampant around the city.

In the area where Rosa and Shane resided, there had been a disappearance just three months previously. The disappearance was that of Christopher Dansby, who was 2 years old.

Rosa and Shane lived in the same apartment block as the Dansby family had done, but were unaware of Christopher’s disappearance.

The Disappearance

On Thursday 10th August 1989, Rosa took her son Shane to the park – which she would do a couple of days a week. This was the same park where Christopher Dansby had vanished from three months prior.

Owing to the hot weather and the time of day (after school), the park was very busy and filled with children and parents alike.

When they arrived at the park, two children came up to them – a girl aged 10 and her brother, aged 6. They asked to play with Shane, and after insisting, Rosa let Shane go and play with them.

Rosa went to sit down on a bench. A man came and sat by Rosa. Rosa said that he told her that parents don’t pay enough attention to their children, and showed her scars that he had purportedly gotten from fights.

After turning away to see the man’s scars, Rosa then looked back to see where Shane was, but suddenly couldn’t see him. Rosa started walking around the park to try and see where he was.

About three minutes later, Rosa saw the two children that had originally been playing with Shane – with the duo coming through a hole in the park’s wired fence – meaning they had been out of the park, and were returning in through the fence. Rosa asked them where Shane was, but they told her that they had left him in the park.

Rosa remarked that if they had left him in the park, that he would still be in the park. However, the children insisted that they had left him in the park.

Rosa started looking around the area frantically, but was unable to see Shane anywhere. She reported the disappearance to the Police.

The Investigation

The Police conducted a widescale search, with around 200 officers taking part. Local buildings were canvassed, but owing to the large towers that surrounded the park, progress was slow. To the credit of the Police, every apartment in the complex was searched.

Meanwhile, ground searches took place too, with the Police, family members and local volunteers all searching for Shane.

The Police immediately believed there was a connection between Christopher Dansby’s and Shane’s disappearances. Both were young black toddlers, had vanished from the same park, at around the same time of day, and on the same day of the week.

Significant focus was put on the two children that had asked to play with Shane. Rosa theorised that they had been asked by someone else to play with Shane and get him away from his mother, so that the person could snatch Shane.

The two children were located and brought in for questioning. However, the duo said that Shane had merely left them to play with others. The parents of the duo were also questioned, but were found to have played no part in any hypothetical disappearance.

Moreover, the Police also brought in the man that had sat next to Rosa on the bench for questioning. However, he too was not considered to be involved after being interviewed.

Family members were also interviewed. This included Shane’s father James, who had separated from Rosa. However, Shane, and all other close family members, had interviews and were not believed to have been involved.

The Police received a tip that Shane had been buried in the tower complex that surrounded the park. However, after searching the complex entirely, this was dismissed as false.

The Police put up a £30,000 reward for information leading to Shane’s recovery. Moreover, they had sound trucks driving through various neighbourhoods to raise awareness of the disappearances.

A task force was set up to try and find the missing children. This included looking at local sex offenders, but while these were analysed, none were found to be connected to the case.

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

Unfortunately, the case failed to secure any big leads. This left investigators with limited evidence. Eventually, the case went cold.

Later Developments

Unfortunately, there have been no large developments in Shane’s disappearance. While there have been some apparent sightings around the United States, none have been substantiated.

The disappearance featured on an episode of Netflix’s show Unsolved Mysteries, which included a discussion with Shane’s mother Rosa.

Rosa was clearly very hurt by the case. She remarked on the documentary that she had not expected to be able to have children, so when she did give birth, it was a miracle.

The Police certainly believed there was a connection between Shane and Christopher’s disappearances. In a cruel twist of fate, Rosa said that had she known someone had previously vanished from the park, that she wouldn’t have gone there.

Rosa appeared on The Montel Williams Show, where she spoke to a psychic. The psychic told Rosa that Shane was being raised by a wealthy family and that he was being well taken care of.

It has been argued by some people that Shane’s disappearance received limited media coverage. Therefore, some have used this case as an example of “Missing White Woman Syndrome“, which suggests disappearances involving white women court more media attention than those of black people or men.

The disappearance of Shane Walker, along with the Christopher Dansby case – remains unsolved. Neither child has been seen since 1989.

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


There are many theories around what might have happened to Shane Walker. There are still many unanswered questions though.

We take a look at the evidence for each theory:

Theory One: Shane Walker was abducted by a stranger

For many, the most likely outcome is that Shane was abducted by a stranger in the park. Given how busy the park was, an abduction could have taken place undetected, and very quickly.

If the perpetrator was the same person that kidnapped Christopher Dansby, he may have been emboldened by his first effort, and wanted to repeat a similar process.

Moreover, despite the two children that played with Shane being extensively interviewed, it is possible that someone coaxed the duo into bringing Shane towards him/her.

While it is horrible to think about, if an abduction did take place, it is likely that Shane was soon killed.

Theory Two: Shane Walker‘s Family was involved in an abduction

Similar to the above theory, it is possible that a member of Shane’s family was involved in an abduction. Often, members of family are involved in child abductions.

While family members were questioned and later cleared, there is always the chance that someone was able to lie about their role in the case.

If this did happen, then Shane’s fate is unknown. But it’d be highly unlikely that he would still be alive, sadly.

Theory Three: Shane Walker was abducted but is still alive

One theory put forward by some is that Shane was abducted by a person that wanted to raise him as their own.

This could have been a person that was unable to have their own children, and therefore wanted to abduct a child. They then could have raised the child – without Shane ever being aware of who his real mother or father was.

If this theory is accurate, then Shane may still be alive – albeit under a different name. It is definitely a possibility. There have been cases in the past where people have managed to solve their own disappearance – with Carlina White being a well-known example.

It is possible that Shane therefore may one day reappear. For his family, they will hold on hope of this happening.

Theory Four: Shane Walker walked off on his own and died

There is always the possibility that Shane walked off by himself and died – either by falling to his death or drowning somewhere. This could explain what happened to him.

However, given that Shane was so young, it would be unlikely that a member of the public wouldn’t assist Shane, and take him to the Police – were they to see him walking unaccompanied.

Moreover, the large searches that took place would also make it rather unlikely that Shane wouldn’t be found. Yet it is a possibility.

Theory Five: Shane Walker was the victim of a baby-selling ring

This theory is especially related to the connection between Shane and Christopher Dansby’s disappearance. There is a possibility that both fell victims to a baby-selling ring.

This was a theory that was promoted by residents in the local area. It was investigated by the Police, but there wasn’t any evidence to back this up.

If this theory is accurate, then it is possible – as mentioned earlier – that Shane could be alive, albeit without knowing who he truly is.

Reader Vote

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

What Happened to Shane Walker?


It is always a tragedy when a mother and their child get separated. For Rosa, it has been incredibly difficult. For Shane, we may not ever know what happened.

Rosa continues to believe that Shane is alive, and hopes that they will be reunited. If they do, she plans on taking him on a vacation. We can only hope that this may happen one day.

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