Matthew Crocker was kidnapped from his crib, allegedly by his family babysitter, more than 30 years ago

By Wendy Grossman Kantor
November 19, 2019 02:00 PM
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National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Elizabeth Christensen has spent her entire life wondering where her baby brother is.

When she was just one year old, Elizabeth’s 4-month-old baby brother, Matthew Crocker, was kidnapped. They had been sleeping in the same crib that night.

At the time, Elizabeth’s mother was a single mom raising four children. She had befriended a woman who called herself “Kathy Johnson.” The 26-year-old woman moved into their home and helped babysit while Elizabeth’s mom worked.

On the morning of June 9, 1983, Johnson vanished — taking the baby boy with her.

A sketch of “Kathy Johnson” at the time of the kidnapping
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The next day, police found a 1973 Chevrolet Vega she’d stolen at a rest stop near Sallisaw, Oklahoma, says Sgt. Jonathan Wear, Public Information Officer for the Van Buren Police Department.

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Police have spent the ensuing years searching for Johnson, who has a tattoo of a unicorn on her left arm, “Kathy” with a ribbon above it tattooed on her right arm, and a green-and-yellow star tattooed on her chest. Police say Johnson also has a long scar on the back of her right shoulder.

“Anytime we get a lead, we follow up on it,” Wear says. “But none of our leads have panned out.”

What could have happened to baby Matthew? “We just don’t know,” says Wear. “There’s not much information.”

Age-progressed photo of what Matthew Crocker might look like now
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Which has left his big sister Elizabeth with many unanswered questions.

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“I just wonder, what’s he like?” says Elizabeth, 38, a stay-at-home mom. “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 believes that her brother is out there and she hopes to meet 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,” Elizabeth says. “I just feel that he is alive, and I feel like we will find him.”