Abandoned at birth: Search that spans decades finds parents and unknown siblings
Published Saturday, November 4, 2017 7:00AM EDT
It was a chilly October night in 1977 when a mysterious bundle was left on the back step of a local hospital in Prince Rupert, B.C.
Wrapped in a bedspread was a baby girl just a few hours old.
She was found by Ron and Mabel Mazurek, who were there because their little girl was sick. Ron remembers noticing something and called hospital staff.
“I said there’s something between the doors and it keeps moving in a blanket,” he told CTV’s W5.
Over the years, the Mazureks wondered about that baby. Then, one day, Mabel saw an article in the local newspaper. The infant was all grown up now. Her name was Janet Keall and she was searching for answers.
“I was left and the way that I was left. I just wanted to know who she was.” Keall told W5 in an interview at her adoptive parents home in Surrey, B.C.
Janet’s parents, Gord and Jerrilyn Keall, had been on a waitlist for a child when a radio report mentioned an abandoned baby in Prince Rupert.
Jerrilyn didn’t hesitate. “I said to my husband when he got home from work: ‘We can take that baby.’”
Janet had a happy childhood, growing up in a family of four kids. She knew she was adopted. But the mystery over her roots and why she was abandoned kept gnawing away at her.
She told W5: “I just felt tossed away. It was, well, why would this happen to me?”
When she was 18, Janet obtained her adoption file from the provincial government, hoping it would provide some clues. It was mostly blank. No mother’s name. No father’s name.
She returned to Prince Rupert, went public with articles in the local newspaper, reaching out to the community, looking for answers.
She came up empty. There was no one who knew anything about the woman who had given birth to her.
Life went on and the years flew by. Janet married and had children of her own.
Then, in 2016, she was driven to try one more time. Janet launched a website, Rupertsbaby, taking advantage of social media, and out of the blue, the breakthrough that changed everything.
A message from a young man named Kevin Hooge, a second generation chicken farmer, who like Janet was abandoned in Prince Rupert as a baby in 1979.
DNA would confirm the two were half siblings. Janet said, “I never in a million years thought of this scenario.”
Within a month, there was another stunning revelation.
Kathie Rennie had also heard of Janet’s search. She was abandoned in Prince Rupert in 1976, 18 months before Janet.
DNA confirmed the three were half-siblings, all born to the same mother.
“It was surreal,” Kathie told W5 after the three met face to face for the first time.
But still, the burning question remained. Who was their mother and why did she abandon three babies?
The truth was about to come out. An ancestry website connected Janet and Kathie to a first cousin who’d also been adopted and her papers held the clue that finally solved the mystery.
Janet, Kevin and Kathie finally had their birth mother’s name.
Watch CTV’s W5 Saturday night at 7pm to find out what happened next