Family of 4-month-old boy abducted by babysitter 36 years ago believes he's still alive: 'We will find him'

Matthew Crocker was last seen on June 9, 1983. 36 years later, his family is still holding on to the hope that he is alive and well


                            Family of 4-month-old boy abducted by babysitter 36 years ago believes he's still alive: 'We will find him'

The family of a four-month-old boy who was abducted by his babysitter close to 40 years ago and has not been seen since still believe he's alive.

Matthew Crocker was last seen in his Van Buren, Arkansas, home on June 9, 1983, according to the Charley Project — which profiles over 13,000 cold cases from the United States — and is believed to have been kidnapped by a 26-year-old woman named Kathy Johnson.

Matthew's mother had met Johnson, a worker at a rodeo that had stopped at Fort Smith, Arkansas, at the time, through a family friend.

She needed help to take care of Matthew and her three other children because their father was in jail at the time, and asked Johnson to stay in their home for a week for the same.

The night before the four-month-old disappeared, there had been a party at the home where alcohol was served. When his mother woke up the next morning, he and Johnson were both gone and the family car was missing.

The next day, the police found the vehicle, a 1973 Chevrolet Vega, near Sallisaw, Oklahoma, reported PEOPLE, though neither Johnson nor Matthew were anywhere to be found. There has been no trace of them in the last 36 years either.

Elizabeth Christensen, who was one when her brother disappeared, revealed that she had been sleeping in the same crib as him that fateful night and that she wonders what he's doing these days.

"I just wonder, what’s he like?" she said. "I don’t know if he has kids, and do they look like mine? And do I look like him? Do we have similar personality traits?… I wonder so many things."

She insisted that he was still alive and that she's holding on to the hope she'll see him again. "We want to find him so bad…Even though he didn’t get to be a part of our family, hopefully, he was loved and had a normal, happy life," she said. "I just feel that he is alive, and I feel like we will find him."

Sgt. Jonathan Wear, Public Information Officer for the Van Buren Police Department, said they had not given up on finding Matthew. "Anytime we get a lead, we follow up on it," he explained. "But none of our leads have panned out."

Using aging technology, a photo of how Matthew could look like now is being circulated by the family in the hope that someone will lead them to him.

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