Bus stop baby-snatcher: Mom's heartache as she relives how her daughter was abducted 35 years ago by a 'kind' stranger who asked to hold the child then ran off with the three-month-old and never returned
- Eleanor Williams was 18 when her three-and-a-half-month old baby girl April was kidnapped at a bus station in downtown Washington, DC in December 1983
- She said a woman named Latoya approached her and asked if she could hold her baby after talking about how cute April was
- Williams said Latoya then said April needed a diaper change and offered to do it and took the baby to the bathroom - Williams never saw April or Latoya again
- The case remains unsolved - police believe Latoya could have lied about her name and don't have solid leads
A Virginia mother whose child was abducted from a bus stop more than three decades ago has revealed her heartache as she appeals for new information to find her daughter.
When Eleanor Williams was 18 years old, her then three-and-a-half-month-old baby girl was kidnapped following, what she calls, a terrible mistake.
‘I blame myself every minute, right up to this minute. It’s been 34 years, and it’s not something that’s over. I deal with it every day, whether I talk about it or not … It’s always on my mind,' Williams told the Washington Post. 'It’s always: ‘How could you be so stupid? Why? Why did you do it?’’
Eleanor Williams was 18 years old when her infant baby girl was kidnapped at a D.C. bus station by a stranger who asked to hold her daughter in December 1983
April Williams disappeared on December 2, 1983. The case still remains unsolved. Pictured is a baby photo of April
Williams said she was traveling from Virginia to Kansas with her infant daughter, April Nicole Williams.
It was December 2, 1983, two months after she graduated high school. She was going to meet a soldier her brother had set her up with, but she would never make it to her destination that day.
The now 52-year-old woman recalled how tired she was traveling on a bus for three hours with a young child.
While waiting for a connecting bus at the Trailways bus station in downtown Washington, DC, Williams said she was approached by 'Latoya', a woman she described as 'amiable and chatty'.
Latoya, who police believe may have lied about her name, gushed about how cute April was and asked Williams if she could hold her.
Williams said she hesitated, but didn't think it would be a problem since Latoya was sitting next to her.
She said Latoya, who may have been in her 20s, then commented that April needed a diaper change and offered to take the baby to the bathroom to do it because Williams looked exhausted.
Police said the suspect, who told Williams her name was Latoya, has dark complexion with spots on her face. Pictured if a sketch of what police believe Latoya looks like
April, seen in this age-progression photo, would be 34 years old. Police hope by making what happened public it may lead to more information on her disappearance
‘I was skeptical, like, ‘Well … OK, I guess.’ Because I was tired,' she told the outlet from her Waterbury, Connecticut apartment.
'And I thought about it, but I had already said OK, and she had already got up and taken her to the bathroom.'
Williams said that was the last time she saw April or Latoya.
‘There were times when I was younger when I wanted to commit suicide, I just felt so bad and so guilty,’ she said. ‘But my other kids were always my strength. Like, what would they do if anything happened to me?’
In the days after April went missing, Williams said she was interrogated by detectives who wanted to know if she had sold her child.
Once they were satisfied with her story, she was sent back to Virginia but rumors that she had given up her daughter or was an unfit mother followed her.
'I just couldn’t deal with everybody looking at me and talking about me and having something to say about my situation,' she said. 'It was always: 'She gave her baby away.’ People were always whispering that. Or: ‘She’s just not fit to have a child.’ I mean, the way people are, they’re cruel. They’re mean. Until something happens to them.'
Williams, who now has two other children, said that December day will haunt her for the rest of her life.
Commander Leslie Parsons with the D.C. police criminal investigations division told the Washington Post that there have been no solid leads on the case. She hopes that by getting the story in the media someone will come forward with information.
‘About the only thing we can do proactively at this point is put it out in the media. Hopefully someone will see it, and they’ll call us,' she said.
The kidnapping happened at the Trailways bus station in Washington, DC. Pictured on the left is what Trailways looked like in 1983, on the right is a photo of the location where the station used to be
Williams said she is still haunted by what happened
One major issue investigators have come across with Williams' case is the lack of information on Latoya.
Police have said that the suspect could have lied about her name, and they don't have any actual photos of her.
In the past, they have offered up a brief description.
‘The suspect is described as (having) … a dark brown complexion and spots on her face,' investigators said. 'Her ears were pierced with two holes in each ear. She could go by Rene or Rene Latoya.’
April, police said, has a small birthmark on the top of her left wrist in a straight line.
‘I’m pretty sure this is the only cold-case kidnapping we have, the only stranger kidnapping, where we still have a victim out,’ Parsons said.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-9099 or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children 1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST).
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