• Back Road Mysteries Staff

Is a boy who was taken at four months still out somewhere there at age thirty-seven?



The Arkansas River Valley holds a dark secret: Two children were abducted twelve years apart on the exact same day: June 9.

The most highly publicized of the two events is that of the abduction of Morgan Nick. Morgan, a six-year-old, blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl, was snatched from an Alma, Arkansas ballpark on the evening of June 9, 1995. Despite a nationwide search, Morgan has never been recovered.

While the case of Morgan Nick is haunting, what’s even more frightening is the realization that on June 9, 1983, Matthew Crocker, just four months old at the time, also vanished without a trace.


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 Sergeant Daniel Perry with the Van Buren Police Department, Matthew Crocker’s mother was introduced to a woman in June of 1983 who called herself “Kathy Johnson.” Kathy claimed to be working at the carnival in Fort Smith, Arkansas at the time. According to Sgt. Perry, Matthew’s mother needed help with child care, so she invited Kathy to stay with her family in their Van Buren home for the week.


According to Sgt. Perry, Matthew’s mother needed help with child care, so she invited Kathy to stay with her family in their Van Buren home for the week.


There was a party at the Crocker home on the night of June 9, 1983. The next morning, Matthew’s mother discovered that both Matthew and Kathy Johnson were missing. Kathy had stolen a car parked at the Crocker home in order to sneak away with Matthew in the middle of the night.


Neither Kathy or Matthew have ever been seen again.


The theory is the woman took Matthew to raise as her own child.


Sergeant Daniel Perry remains optimistic that answers are close.

“This case is solvable. We need that one piece of information that will complete the puzzle,” says Perry.

Kathy Johnson was believed to be 26-years-old at the time. According to Johnson, 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. Johnson may use the first name Judy.


Kathy Johnson is described as a Caucasian woman, about 5'4, with dark blonde hair. Johnson 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. It is believed that Matthew could still be alive and doesn't know his true identity.

Back Road Mysteries will continue to l feature the Matthew Crocker case through an aggressive public awareness campaign.

If Matthew is alive, he would be 37-years-old. His date of birth is: 2/12/1983. At the time of his disappearance, he suffered from a condition called pectus excavatum - or concave chest. As a four-month-old baby, Matthew had brown hair and brown eyes.


“We are still working hard on this case. Yes, it’s unsolved, but I will not give up,” says Sgt. Perry. “The answers are out there.

If you have information about Kathy Johnson or Matthew Crocker, please call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST) or call the Van Buren Police Department at 479-474-1234.

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