In 1893, three-year-old Ray Elliott disappeared while playing near his home in Marengo. A boy was returned to the Elliott family fourteen months later and a courtroom battle over possession of the boy ensued. Was the lost boy the kidnapped Ray Elliott or was he Roy Burke? Over one hundred years later playwright Tom Johnson discovered a book, contemporary to the event, which documented the incident. Tom then produced a play in 2002 at the Old Creamery Theater in Iowa County. This renewed interest resulted in the pursuit of DNA evidence and the final illuminating conclusion... 109 years later.
Follow the story as it unfolds through news articles of the day, or read the article which captures the essence of the events, then skip to the story of the amazing and conclusive discovery made in 2002.
The boy's identity has been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt to the thinking people of this community to be that of Roy Burke. - October 1, 1894 - Davenport Weekly Leader.
The preponderance of evidence favors the identity of Ray Elliott - April 17, 1895 - New Era, Humeston
DNA testing of descendants in the next month should solve the mystery (2002)