Dunbar & Diesel |A-to-Z Day 4

In Life Magazine, this month’s theme as The Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of All Time [quotes used are taken from this issue], I came across two in particular stories about Rudolf Diesel (inventor of the the Diesel oil engine) and Bobby Dunbar (a 4 year old boy).


It is suggested that on his way by steamboat, to an annual meeting for Consolidated Diesel Engine Manufacturers in London, Rudolf Diesel fell overboard. Whether by accident, suicide, or force remains a mystery. Upon arrival in Harwich, he was found missing. “His bed had not been slept in, though his night attire was laid out on it.” Suicide was turned into a possibility because of an earlier mental breakdown. However, his associates claim that he had been recently “cheerful.” Plus the fact that his night attire was laid out on his bed, one can presume that he was planning on waking up the next day, but even that’s uncertain. Another possibility is murder. “Germans might have wanted to kill Diesel, whose inventions might have profited Great Britain in the looming Great War.”

It is indeed a mystery to how Rudolf Diesel’s body became consumed by the English Channel and perhaps we will never know!


Bobby Dunbar, the 4-year-old son of Percy and Lessie Dunbar, disappeared during a family fishing trip after lunch, he presumably wandered off. Though his father spread from the Texas to Florida region, flyers about the missing boy. About 8-months later a match came up of “a boy in keep of a drifter, William Cantwell Walters, in Hub, Mississippi, was found who matched the description” of Bobby. “The boy, initially reluctant to embrace his presumptive parents, eventually realized that he might have a better future with the Dunbar’s and accepted his role as Bobby.” Walters was convicted to a life in prison. Before his sentence, he wrote to the Dunbar’s: “I know, by now you have decided, you are wrong it is vary likely I will loose my life on account of that and if I do the Great God will hold you accountable.” In 2004, Bobby Dunbar’s son, Bobby Jr., gave a DNA sample to be compared with his brother Alonzo. The truth came out that Bobby was not at all related to them and was probably the son of William Walter’s brother and a servant working their parents. The presumed Bobby Dunbar, wholeheartedly believed his whole life that he was indeed Bobby Dunbar and did not hesitate to convince his son of that before he died in 1966.

So what happened to the real Bobby Dunbar? Was he captured somewhere by someone after he wandered off? Did he die near that muddy lake? Though if he had died, wouldn’t the hired detective have found his body?

*share your thought on what you think happened to Bobby Dunbar and Rudolf Diesel!*


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