Christopher Dansby and Shane Walker: What Happened to Them?

Both children disappeared from the same playground during the same summer.

unsolved mysteries
(Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

Plot details for Unsolved Mysteries ahead. Content warning: kidnapping. In 1989, two small children, Christopher Dansby and Shane Walker, suddenly vanished from Martin Luther King Jr. Towers playground near their homes in Harlem, New York. To this day, we know nothing of what happened to the boys or where they could be now. Their story is the subject of a Netflix Unsolved Mysteries volume two episode.

Who were Christopher Dansby and Shane Walker?

The two toddlers were roughly the same age—Christopher was 2 years old and Shane was 19 months—and lived in the same building complex (41 West 112th Street, a.k.a. Martin Luther King Jr. Towers in Harlem). The boys' mothers, Rosa Glover and Allison Dansby, didn't know each other. Both boys were said to be cheerful and very attached to their mothers.

Christopher disappeared from the Martin Luther King Jr. Towers playground in May 1989, and Shane disappeared in August of that same year. Both cases were strikingly similar; Rosa said she took her eyes off her son for a moment after being distracted by someone sitting down beside her. Allison had gone to run an errand and left Christopher with her mother, who also said that she took her eyes off him for just a moment. Then both boys disappeared.

What happened to them?

The cases were unlike other child abductions, according to law enforcement, in part because of the stark similarities between the cases. Though nothing is known for sure, at the time, Deputy Chief Ronald J. Fenrich said, "Someone who wants a baby who is not qualified to adopt a baby might steal a baby or hire someone to do so."

Age progression photos have been used in the cases to show what the children might look like now, 31 years later. Police say they still get tips, but neither child has ever been heard from.

What wasn't covered in the episode?

Christopher and Shane both disappeared on the same day of the week, Thursday, in the early evening. Rosa said she got a strange, upsetting phone call about her son's body being buried in an abandoned building, but police searches turned up nothing.

According to The Charley Project, the disappearance of another young child, Andre Terrance Bryant, was thought to be potentially connected to the two disappearances. There are stark differences in the case, though: Despite the similar timeframe (Bryant disappeared in March 1989), that case was quite different. Andre was only 1 month old and living in Brooklyn. His mother, Monique Rivera, was lured out of the house by two women who had recently taken her shopping. Monique's body was found in the Bronx, and Andre was never seen again.

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Katherine J. Igoe

Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.