Matthew Wade Crocker

Left: Matthew circa, 1983

Right: Age Progressed to age 38

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: June 9, 1983

Missing From: Van Buren, Crawford County, Arkansas

Classification: Non-Family Abduction

Date Of Birth: February 12, 1983

Age: 4 months old

Height and Weight: 2’5″ and 15 pounds

Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Male, Brown hair, Brown eyes, Matthew had pectus excavatum which means a concave chest at the time of his 1983 abduction

NCMEC Number: 1244530

Details of Disappearance

Matthew was abducted by a female acquaintance from his home in Van Buren, Arkansas on June 9th 1983. His mother, Mary Crocker, reportedly met a woman named Kathy Johnson through a male friend. Johnson was a rodeo worker and stopped in Fort Smith, Arkansas with the rest of the rodeo. Matthews father was in jail at the time of his abduction and Mary needed help with her children so she asked Kathy to move in with her.

Johnson was meant at to stay in the home for only a week. On the night of June 9th, there was a party at the Crocker house and alcohol was a served beverage at this party. Matthew was last known to be sleeping in a crib with his 1 year old sister, Elizabeth Christensen. When Mary woke up the next morning, she noticed her son and Johnson were not in the home. Mary filed an abduction report on her son. It’s believed Johnson took Matthew whole the rest of the family slept that night.

The family car, a 1973 Chevrolet Vega, was also missing from the home. Police found the stolen vehicle near a rest-stop in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. There was no trace of Matthew or his abductor and they’ve never been seen or heard from since 1983. Mary recalled that the woman told her she once had two children who she lost shortly after birth. She said the children would’ve been 9 and 6 years old by 1983.

Investigators have created a sketch of the child’s kidnapper. Kathy Johnson is described as being approximately 26 years old in 1983. She was described as Caucasian and stood at 5 feet 4 inches. She had blonde hair at the time. She has a decayed or chipped front tooth, a 6-7 inch scar on her shoulder blade, and a puncture scar 6-8 inches above her right knee.

Kathy has a green/yellow star or sunburst on the left side of her chest, a unicorn on her upper left arm, and the name “Kathy” with a ribbon above it on her upper right arm area. These are the tattoos that she had on her body in 1983. It’s unknown if Kathy Johnson was her real name and they haven’t located the abductor. She might also use the name of “Judy”.

Investigators have been able to determine that Kathy worked with a man who traveled to Kansas with a little old snake show type thing. Investigators have been unable to identify this individual but are interested in speaking to him in regards to Matthew’s abduction. Investigators believe Johnson and Matthew may have traveled through Utah to California after his abduction. A woman believed to be Johnson was overheard at a Oklahoma rest-stop saying she was going there.

Investigators believe Johnson took Matthew with the intentions of raising him as her own child. Police along with his older sister believe Matthew is still living and is unaware that he is a missing child. Matthew has three to four other siblings. His abduction remains unsolved.

Suspect Information:

Image: This image is a composite sketch of the female abduction suspect in Matthew’s kidnapping. Her description is in the “details of disappearance” section

Investigating Agency

If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

Van Buren Police Department 479-474-1234

Source Information

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The Charley Project

The Doe Network


5 News

Meaww News


The Kilgore News Herald 06/12/1983

Fort Lauderdale News 06/12/1983

The Daily Herald 07/04/1983