On the outskirts of Denmark’s capital city, Copenhagen, in the early 20th century, a young woman tempted mothers unable to keep their children with an ideal – if expensive – solution. In exchange for a princely sum, the female offered to find these desperate women’s babies a loving home. Business boomed until years later, when one of the clients had a change of heart – only to find that her baby had disappeared without trace.
Dagmar Johanne Amalie Overbye was born on April 23, 1887, in Assendrup, a village near Denmark’s second city, Aarhus, some 116 miles west of the country’s capital. Born into a poor farming family, Overbye grew up to be a sad and withdrawn child who expressed her unhappiness with acts of petty thievery. After being caught stealing a purse at the tender age of 12, her parents sent her away to work on another family’s farm on the island of Funen, some 50 miles away.