Left and Center: Anthony circa, 1981
Right: Age Progressed to age 34
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: August 29, 1981
Missing From: Mansfield, Tarrant County, Texas
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: August 20, 1976
Age: 5 years old
Height and Weight: 3’0″ and 50 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: African American Male, Black hair, Brown eyes, Anthony might use the nickname “Burt”
Clothing/Jewelry Description: An adult sized t-short with burn holes at the bottom and a pair of underwear
NCMEC Number: 735170
Details of Disappearance
Anthony Woodson was last seen in Mansfield, Texas on August 29th 1981. His uncle, Terry Lee Woodson stated that he and Anthony left their home on Cotton Drive to go to a 7-11 store located in the 1000 block of East Broad Street at approximately 3:30 am. He stated he did not want to leave the child at home because his aunt, Della, was sleeping. Anthony was in the backseat of the car at the time. Anthony was sleeping in the car when Terry larked the vehicle to go inside and get a drink.
When Terry came out of the store, he got in his car and drove home. He said when he got home he realized that the child had disappeared from inside the vehicle. He called the police at 3:50 am to report him missing. Terry was interviewed regarding his nephew’s disappearance and was given a polygraph exam. The exam showed signs of deception which meant he likely knew more about his disappearance than he had let on. Anthony’s father was also interviewed about his son’s disappearance. He was imprisoned by the time he was interviewed and told investigators he had no idea where his son was. He passed a polygraph about the case and is not considered a suspect in the case.
Anthony had been living with his aunt and uncle for 10 months by the time he disappeared. Shortly after he was born, both his parents divorced and he was placed in the care of his paternal grandmother. She gave his aunt and uncle custody of him due to her failing eyesight.
Terry and Della divorced after Anthony vanished and Della has since died. In 2017, investigators reopened the investigation into Anthony’s disappearance and reinterviewed people who knew the boy. Various witnesses were also interviewed and neighbors reported that Anthony was abused by both Della and Terry. They remembered that Anthony was beat with a lamp cord and were able to recognize the sound of the cord hitting him as well as his screams and cry’s when he was being abused.
In October of 2017, Terry was interviewed about his nephews disappearance and confessed that Della was the one responsible for the boys death. He stated that Anthony has died as a result of being beat by Della and that he dumped his body along a dirt road off Highway 287 which is located between Mansfield and Midlothian, Texas. Terry was driven around the area to see if he could remember where he left the body but it was not located.
Terry changed his story in March of 2018 and stated that Della had in fact beaten the child with an extension cord and then left the beating to Terry. Terry allegedly beat Anthony until there were u-shaped marks on his back and blood was soaking through his shirt. He covered the child and left him on a bed. When he checked on him later, Anthony had died from his injuries. He admitted that if he had gotten medical attention for Anthony, he would have likely lived. He told investigators that he dumped the child’s body between Mansfield and Midlothian and then drove to the 7-11 store to set up his alibi. He led investigators to where he allegedly dumped his body but nothing was found. It’s possible that Anthony’s body was scattered by animals and might not be recovered. In August of 2018, Terry was arrested and charged with Anthony’s murder and is awaiting trial in the case.
After his arrest, Terry retracted all of his statements and said he had blood sugar problems in relation to diabetes which caused him to get confused and say things that weren’t true and couldn’t remember later on and denies abusing his son. Investigators believe that he was responsible for his nephews murder. They still hope to locate the child’s body.
Anthony’s case remains classified as a non family abduction and foul play is suspected.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Mansfield Police Department 817-473-0211