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Matthew's parents met a woman in 1983 who called herself Kathy Johnson. She was a worker at a fair that had stopped in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and a friend of Matthew's family who met her persuaded Matthew's family to take her into their home in Van Buren, Arkansas. Matthew's parents went to bed on June 9, 1983, and when they woke up, Matthew and Johnson were both gone. Neither of them has ever been seen again.
A composite sketch of the abductor is posted below this case summary. She's described as White, with a tattoo of a green and yellow star on the left side of her chest, a tattoo of a unicorn on her upper left arm, a long scar on the back of her right shoulder and a tattoo on her upper right arm of the name "Kathy" with a ribbon above it. Authorities believe the abductor may have taken Matthew to raise him as her son. They think he's probably still alive and doesn't know his true identity.