Meet Bonnie: The 7-Year-Old Girl Who Accidentally Solved Her Own Kidnapping

Fatim Hemraj
Bonnie LohmanPhoto byUnbelievable Facts

In the 1980s, the faces of missing children were plastered on milk containers all over the United States to create awareness. It was called the Milk Carton Campaign and it was very short-lived. Distraught parents didn’t want the pictures in their homes while pediatricians claimed they were only scaring children. Although it was never very successful, to begin with, the Milk Carton Campaign did solve one case in particular.
A mother shields her children from photos of missing childrenPhoto by99%invisible

3-year-old Bonnie Lohman was kidnapped by her mother, who was in the midst of a bitter divorce with Bonnie’s father. Bonnie was initially taken to Saipan, an island near Guam with a population of less than 50,000. While there, she lived in a shack in the woods with her mother and stepfather.

The couple eventually took Bonnie to Hawaii, where she was forced to stay indoors at all times. On This Is Criminal, Bonnie recalled that she only went outside once or twice during the entire time she lived in Hawaii. Eventually, Bonnie was taken to Colorado. Her mother and stepfather began to loosen up a bit, and let her play with the neighbor’s children. However, they continued to shelter her and never enrolled her in school.

One day, Bonnie’s stepfather allowed her to accompany him to the supermarket to grab some milk — a rare and exciting moment in her life. Her stepfather grabbed a carton of milk. On it was a photo of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl grinning from ear to ear. He turned to 7-year-old Bonnie, and said, “Hey, do you know who that is? You’re famous!” Bonnie excitedly responded, “Is that me?!” at which point, he told her to be quiet.

Since Bonnie had never been to school, she didn’t know how to read or what the words ‘Missing Child’ printed above her photo meant. Bonnie later stated that her stepfather was so arrogant he would never be caught that he purchased the milk, and asked her if she would like to keep her photo. He cut the picture out and told Bonnie to keep it in a safe place. To Bonnie, that meant inside her Barbie case, and that’s where it went.

Not long after, Bonnie accidentally left her Barbie case at her neighbor’s, who discovered the photo and made a frantic call to the police. The next thing she knew, her street was lined with police cars and she was being hauled away to a man she didn’t know: her biological father.

Bonnie was terrified. She was taken away from the only two people she ever knew and loved and sent to live with a man who to her, was a stranger. However, as Bonnie grew older, she realized that she had been neglected and robbed of her childhood during those four confusing years of her life. After being reunited with her father, Bonnie attended school for the first time. She went on to become a nurse and a doting mom of two.

“I believe that I am who I am because I was on a milk carton, and I was found, and I had opportunities with my dad growing up that I might not have had with my mom. I was able to live a great life, and I’m grateful for it.” — Bonnie Lohman

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