One of the top worries a parent has is the kidnapping of their child, probably more so today than ever. One of the most read Bristol Press stories captured that scenario in words and pictures when on May 25, 1966, 6-year-old Terryville resident Michael Albee was kidnapped in Terryville while waiting for his school bus.
Albee was standing with other school kids at the bus stop on Hoye Street near his house at 8:30 a.m. when he was grabbed by Albert L. Bunn, 33, a resident of Mine Road. Bunn had unsuccessfully tried twice to capture little girls in the group earlier. The kidnapper grabbed the struggling boy and threw him into his Ford pick-up. Two Terryville men, George Dolecki and Donald Lassy, saw what was going on and chased Bunn’s speeding vehicle through the Terryville streets to Bunn’s home.
Bunn ditched his truck on his property and dragged Albee up a hill in back of his house and into deep woods, taking a rifle, shotgun and ammunition. Within minutes Plymouth police were at the scene and they radioed to Bristol for assistance. Reporters and a photographer from this newspaper soon joined the group.
Bunn and Albee were dug in at a makeshift stronghold at this point. The police made attempts to save the boy on several occasions. His father, Tom, who was working at Pratt & Whitney in Southington at the time, heard of what was going on at 8:45 a.m. and made it to the scene in 12 minutes. Mr. Albee went off in another direction to try to get to his son, The police had told him there was nothing he could do, but when the rescue group was distracted the senior Albee broke off to do a search by himself, however, he was unsuccessful and returned to the others.
Two of those in the rescue party were 16-year Bristol police veteran Joe Nocera, who knew Bunn, and Joan LaForest, Bunn’s sister. Together, they slowly walked up the wooded hillside and engaged the kidnapper in conversation. At this point, Bristol Police Chief Robert Grace called out to LaForest and Nocera to disengage and return to command center. LaForest was approaching her brother in front of Nocera and then dropped down at the command and rolled down the hillside for 25 to 30 feet. Following this a shot rang out, one that hit Officer Nocera. He soon was running down the hill in shock, not knowing where he had been hit by Bunn’s shotgun. He was then taken to Bristol Hospital and later recuperated.
Then, Wilfred Morin, the city’s dog warden, steped in. Morin also worked at a bar evenings, one which Bunn frequented, and thought he could help.
“I could visualize one of my own kids up there,” Morin said after the rescue.
Morin called out to Bunn, saying, “You know me, your good friend, the bartender. Come on down and I’ll mix you a drink.”
Bunn replied saying that he didn’t need alcohol, because he knew he was going to be a dead man. However, he asked for water. Morin replied in telling him he’d bring water “if you’ll give me the boy.”
Bunn hesitated for a few moments before saying he’d do it and the exchange was made after what had been a three-hour ordeal. Bunn was killed by police bullets shortly after the boy’s rescue.
As far as the rescued boy went, Morin said he had been “cool as a cucumber.” He had two wishes, to go back to school and have lunch. It was lunchtime at the time.
A year later, Morin received the Carnegie medal and $750.00 for his act of heroism.
(Note: Attempts to reach both Morin and Albee were unsuccessful on Thursday. Perhaps they or family members will read this and give me their contact information to see how the kidnapping day may have had affected their lives afterwards.)