Real Names: Katharine Christine and Robert Maple Baskin
Nicknames: Christi and Bobby
Location: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Date: March 1, 1989
Date of Birth: Unrevealed
Height: 4'5" (Christi) / 4'3" (Bobby)
Weight: 70 pounds (Christi) / 80 pounds (Bobby)
Marital Status: Single
Details: Christi, Bobby, and Michael Baskin are the children of Mark and Debbie Baskin and grandchildren of Marvin and Sandra Maple, Debbie's parents. In 1987, Mark decided that he wanted to go back to school to pursue his master's degree. As the Baskins planned to move from Murfreesboro, Tennessee to Louisville, Kentucky, they realized that they would face financial problems. The Maples agreed to watch Christi and Bobby until they had settled and found jobs. The Baskins went to Louisville with Michael.
Despite the separation, the two families kept in touch as much as possible. The Baskins planned to only have the children stay with the Maples through the summer. However, it became difficult to find jobs in Louisville, so they stayed through Christmas. According to Debbie, she and Sandra got into an argument when she told her that she wanted them back. According to her, the Maples loved them a bit too much and believed they could be better parents for them than their own parents. By April, the feud between the two families had reached the point where the Baskins were not allowed to stay in the Maples home when they visited the children.
On April 10, 1988, the Baskins stayed in a motel so that they could have all of the children together. A month later on May 5, the Maples petitioned for custody of them before Judge Robert Corlew in his chambers. They claimed that Mark and Debbie had abandoned them and were members of a Satanic cult. They also claimed that Bobby had been molested by his parents during the motel visit. The judge gave the Maples temporary custody of them. The Baskins were shocked and claimed that the allegations against them were false.
On May 23, a court hearing was held and the children were again placed in the Maples' custody. Both families were ordered to undergo complete psychological evaluations. Meanwhile, a thirty-day investigation into the abuse allegations was conducted. During this time, the Maples' custody of the children was extended. However, the Baskins retained custody of Michael.
As part of the investigation, Murfreesboro detective Anita Flagg was tasked to determine if Bobby's claims of being sexually abused by his parents were true. He confirmed what the Maples said, but she believed that he may have been coached. In further interviews, his stories allegedly became more bizarre. He allegedly claimed that social workers, attorneys, and mental health officials were involved in the rituals. At the conclusion of her investigation, she believed that charges were not warranted. She did not find evidence to support the claims of abuse.
Flagg and the other investigators recommended that the children be returned to their parents. However, a court order was required to make this possible. Unfortunately, Christmas was approaching and the court dockets were full. Once again, the Baskins were only allowed intermittent visits with them. A final hearing was scheduled for March 29, 1989, almost a full year after the initial proceedings began. By then, there was little doubt that they would be returned to their parents.
Nineteen days before the hearing, court guardian Karen Hornsby called the Maples to confirm a scheduled visitation for the children with their parents. After she failed to reach them several times, she became suspicious. She went to visit them at their home, only to find that it was for sale and that they had all disappeared. According to the Baskins, they had gone as far as threatening to kill the children to keep them from their parents.
The Baskins still hope to find their children and reunite with them and their brother, Michael.
Suspects: Marvin and Sandra Maple
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the February 7, 1990 episode.
Results: Solved. After the broadcast, the children were seen and reported in Santa Clara, California, as well as Washington, Mississippi, Florida, and Murfreesboro, Tennessee. When the case was re-aired, sightings of them were reported in San Diego in 1999 and 2000. Finally, in February 2009, Marvin and the children were found in San Jose, California. Sandra had passed away three years earlier. After her death, Marvin confided in several friends about the abduction. One of them went to the police, which led to his arrest.
The kids, who now go by the names Jon and Jennifer Bunting, are well-adjusted adults. Jennifer is a nurse and Jon is married with a family of his own. However, they have little emotional attachment to their parents due to the abduction. They have refused all efforts to reunite with them, but whether this is due to some form of brainwashing by their grandparents remains to be seen.
Jon has since spoken out and is adamant that he and Jennifer were physically, sexually, and emotionally abused by their parents. He claims that their grandparents took them and hid them for their own safety. He also remembers the abuse and has claimed there was no brainwashing involved at all. He discussed the alleged abuse during a TV interview in May 2017.
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