Newport News, Va. - This is an anniversary no parent should ever have to mark.
It was 35 years ago when a woman, posing as a social worker, tricked a Newport News mother into taking her son. No one knows for sure what happened to the baby boy, David Ezell Blockett, but the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) is refusing to give up hope.
"That search is continuing and I'm not discouraged at all," said NCMEC Executive Director Robert Lowery.
On December 11, 1980, a woman calling herself Marie Kelly told Vanessa Blockett she was there to bring her infant son and 2-year-old Frederick to a Newport News Christmas photo content. Hours would pass. Authorities found Frederick wandering in a Hampton neighborhood with a note in his pocket with his address. However, baby David was gone.
"It's just hard, the not knowing, where he's at, or what he might be going through," said David's father Fred West.
Days after the abduction, a diaper bag filled with David's clothes was found on the Colonial Parkway. There was still no trace of the baby.
His mother, Vanessa, later died of a brain aneurysm when he would have been in his teen years.
The case had grown cold for decades until 2001, when NewsChannel 3 took action get Newport News police and the NCMEC to renew their efforts.
Two theories may explain the abductor's motives.
Newport News detective Amber Rogers points to David's 1980 birth announcement that appeared in the Daily Press. Three days later, the mystery woman showed up at David's door with a a list of other newborn babies in the area.
"She specifically wanted the baby and was looking for another baby down the street," said Rogers.
David's abduction was one of the first cases for the NCMEC. Lowery believes the abductor took David and raised him as her own.
"Typically they take the children because of a husband or loved one that they're trying to convince they're pregnant and they're trying to produce a child," Lowery said.
In either scenario, David was likely raised by a family he may not know is not really his.
"At some point these children, especially as they age into adulthood, start having questions about who they are," said Lowery. "Birth certificates maybe not match the stories they've been told. Documents may be distorted or altered."
There are so many unanswered questions surrounding David's abduction, and so many hearts waiting to be healed all these years later.
"If you're out there David," said his father, "if you're hearing me, know that you're loved and you're missed, and everybody wants to see you come home."
David has some very distinguishing birthmarks: a mole in his right ear and birthmarks on his left arm, back and buttocks.
If you have any information about David or the mystery woman, take action and call our David Tip Line at (757) 446-1350 or Newport News Police at (757) 928-4200.