• Dennis McCaslin

Missing Person Revisited: Who abducted Matthew Crocker in 1983?


The disappearance of Matthew Crocker is one of the strangest unsolved missing cases in the state of Arkansas.

Sadly, the Crocker case has garnered little attention over the years. In fact, researching this case has proven to be very difficult due to lack of reporting and lack of information in the official police records.

According to reports, Matthew Crocker’s parents met a woman in 1983 who called herself Kathy Johnson. Kathy introduced herself as an employee of a carnival/fair that had stopped in Fort Smith.

Apparently a friend of Matthew's family persuaded them to take Kathy into their home in Van Buren, Arkansas. Matthew's parents went to bed on June 9, 1983, and when they woke up, Matthew and Johnson were both gone -- and neither of them has ever been seen again.

Kathy was described as Caucasian, with a tattoo of a green and yellow star on the left side of her chest, a tattoo of a unicorn on her upper left arm, a long scar on the back of her right shoulder and a tattoo on her upper right arm of the name "Kathy" with a ribbon above it.

Authorities believe the abductor may have taken Matthew to raise him as her son. It’s also believed that Matthew could still be alive but doesn't know his true identity.

Interestingly enough, I did come across a different accounting of the Matthew Crocker abduction on the Charley Project. (charleyproject.org).

According to the Charley Project, Matthew's mother met a woman in 1983 who called herself Kathy Johnson. A friend of Matthew's family met her and introduced her to Matthew's mother.

The baby's father was in jail at the time, and Matthew's mother needed help with child care, so she asked Johnson to stay in her Van Buren, Arkansas home for a week to watch her three children.

There was a party at Matthew's home on the night of June 9, 1983, and alcohol was served. When Matthew's mother woke up in the morning, he and Johnson were both gone and the family car was also missing. Three other children were left at the trailer. Neither Matthew nor his abductor has ever been seen again.


Johnson had told Matthew's mother she was twenty-six years old. She also said she had lost two children shortly after they were born; she said her children, had they lived, would have been nine and six years old by 1983.


She may also use the first name Judy. Kathy was described as Caucasian and about 5'4, with blonde hair. She had a chipped or decayed front tooth, a six- to seven-inch scar on her left shoulder blade, and a puncture scar six to eight inches above her right knee.

She had a tattoo of a green and yellow star or sunburst on the left side of her chest, a tattoo of a unicorn on her upper left arm, a long scar on the back of her right shoulder and a tattoo on her upper right arm of the name "Kathy" with a ribbon above it.

Matthew and his abductor may have traveled through Utah to California after Matthew's abduction.


Authorities believe the abductor may have taken Matthew to raise him as her son.


If you have any information that might shed some light o this 37-year-old mystery you are asked to call the Van Buren Police Department at (479) 474-1234.


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