FBI: Man Who Claimed He Was Kidnapped ’55 Toddler is No DNA Match


Well, that sucked. After days of hoopla over the claim by John Barnes, supported by his gut instinct and his mother’s alleged deathbed confession, that he was in reality Stephen Damman, kidnapped as a two-year-old in 1955 from his Long Island family outside a bakery, the DNA has come back no match. The FBI ran the test for him while the world, and his surviving allegedly-long-lost relatives, waited for results, and it would seem to have accomplished nothing except setting Barnes’ own mind at ease, perhaps, and stirring up unpleasant memories. His actual father said Barnes was “delusional” and held a grudge about his parents’ divorce that may have fed his fantasy.

Stephen Damman was snatched shortly before his third birthday outside a bakery while his mother shopped. The 54-year-old crime, we can now say, has never been solved.