Almost 35 years ago, she let a stranger hold her newborn. It has haunted her ever since.


Eleanor Williams, 52, at her home in Waterbury, Connecticut, last month.Williams' 3 1/2-month-old daughter was kidnapped in 1983, and it remains a cold case. MUST CREDIT: Photo by Michael Noble Jr. for The Washington Post

By Paul Duggan | Washington Post

WATERBURY, Conn. — The woman in the bus depot, the perpetrator, was amiable and chatty, Eleanor Williams tearfully told the police.

This was long ago, after Williams, young and naive, had been tragically preyed upon, investigators said. Today, it’s a cold case.

Eleanor Williams, 52, at her home in Waterbury, Conn., last month. Williams’ 3 1/2-month-old daughter was kidnapped in 1983, and it remains a cold case. (Michael Noble Jr./The Washington Post)

The woman, whose crime in the terminal that day shattered Williams’ psyche, was African-American and appeared to be in her 20s, Williams recalled, speaking for the first time in decades about a mystery that has perplexed District of Columbia police. Williams said the stranger’s perfidy left her so mired in guilt and shame that she later contemplated killing herself.

The woman, about 5-foot-3 and slender, struck up a conversation with Williams in the passenger waiting area, cooing over Williams’ infant daughter. After a while, in the sweetest voice, she asked whether she could hold the child.

Please? Just for a minute?

She said her name was Latoya.

Which might have been a lie. Who knows?

She said she was headed “out west” — maybe also a lie.

Williams was 18 then, on Dec. 2, 1983, a date that haunts her. She had grown up on a nine-acre farm in southeast Virginia, and she still lived there. Before that morning, when she set out for Kansas by motor coach with her daughter, she had never ventured more than 30 miles from her home, she said.

Her baby, April Nicole Williams, 3½ months old, was bundled in a pink-and-white snowsuit. The trip’s first leg, 200 miles, brought them to a bus station in downtown Washington.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World

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