When seven-year-old Bonnie Lohman and her stepfather reach the dairy aisle while on their grocery run, something catches her eye. What the little girl sees is a picture of her own face displayed on the side of a milk carton. It’s certainly a puzzling image; the young Bonnie doesn’t know why it’s there or what it means. But her neighbor will eventually see it too – and they’ll come to realize the alarming truth.
In the 1970s a lot of police forces nationwide were reluctant to step in when a noncustodial parent took a child from the parent with whom that child lived. Officers tended to view such situations as domestic disputes, you see, rather than as actual kidnappings or abductions. And so, understandably, parents who found themselves in such situations were left feeling frustrated and upset.
Eventually, however, these parents found strength and got to work. They began by differentiating the situations that they had experienced from kidnappings by defining them instead with the term “child snatching.” The mothers and fathers also formed advocacy groups and created pamphlets – the latter full of photos of snatched kids. And in addition, they shared this information with school officials in the hope of finding children whose names had been changed by their noncustodial parents.