Bay Area woman finds family after 55 years

November 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
For a Bay Area woman, this Thanksgiving will be a family holiday she thought might never happen. After being kidnapped as a little girl 55 years ago, she will soon be reunited with the loved ones she assumed she would never see again.

MOST POPULAR: Video, stories and more
SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you from ABC7

Dollie Henson says a neighbor of her family in Houston grabbed her and took her on a train ride when she was 5 years old. They ended up in Oakland and Dollie never saw her family again. However, one of her daughters had an idea on how to reunite Dollie with her family -- and it worked.

Dollie spoke to her brother on the phone on Friday for the first time in 55 years.

"Now that he found me he didn't want to hang up. It's sweet," said Henson.

He told her he never forgot her and that he has looked for her for years. He has been looking for Darlene McDaniels, the original name of his 5-year-old sister who disappeared, but her name had been changed.

"If I changed my name today and moved to another state, how would you find me? We didn't have computers and pictures on computers the way they do now," said Dollie.

Dollie says the woman who kidnapped her said her relatives had abandoned her. She gave up hope of being reunited with them.

Her three grown daughters had tried just about everything they could think of too.

"Posts on bulletin boards of missing persons, so on and off, for years we all have been looking -- my sisters and I," said Kia'Ora Henson, Dollie's middle daughter.

Then last week, Kia'Ora was telling her a story and said something about being devastated.

"And she's like 'No, Kia'Ora that's not devastation. Devastation is when you're kidnapped at 5 and never see your family again.' And I just cried? because that is devastation," said Kia'Ora.

That is when Kia'Ora decided to call the ABC station in Houston. KTRK ran the story and one of Dollie's relatives saw it and recognized her. She's been inundated with phone calls ever since.

"I'm just happy we were able to find them, I'm happy to know they looked for me, and I'm happy to know they all said they loved me," said Dollie.

ABC7 showed her the story out of Houston and she and her daughters couldn't stop looking at a picture of Dollie's mother.

"Mom you look just like her!" said one of her daughters.

"I feel like I won the lottery baby. Not that it's going to be a perfect family, I'm not looking for that, but it's my family," said Dollie.

The woman who Dollie says kidnapped her died in 1977 and Dollie's mother passed away in 1998.

However, Dollie has eight living siblings to meet including a sister she never knew. She hopes to go to Houston as soon as possible.

KTRK story: Woman has 55-year search for family

       Today's latest headlines | ABC7 News on your phone
Follow us on Twitter | Fan us on Facebook | Get our free widget


Load Comments