Woman finds family after 55 years

November 13, 2009 8:53:45 PM PST
Eyewitness News first told you about Dollie Ann Henson's story Thursday night. Henson lives in San Francisco, but she is convinced she was kidnapped from her biological family in Houston at 5 years old.Just hours after her plea for answers aired during Eyewitness News at 10, we received a call from the McDaniel family, who think this Henson is their missing member.

"This is Darlene," Donilla McDaniel said. "She just like her mom. Her mom's named Helen. I named her (Darlene), so I know her."

Henson didn't know it then, but the 55-year search for her family was about to be over.

"I'd like to know if they miss me," Henson pleaded Thursday night.

From San Francisco, Henson she showed us her birth certificate and that one picture with Santa. Here in Houston, Michael Simmons was watching television.

"When I saw this on TV and they showed the birth certificate, I knew right away," he said.

His wife's family had always talked about an Aunt Darlene, who was kidnapped by a neighbor when she was just 5 years old. So, Simmons picked up the phone and rounded up the family. Meanwhile, Eyewitness News called Henson and handed her the phone to her long lost aunt, Donilla McDaniel.

"Darlene? This is Donilla. Hi, Donilla. Do you remember me?" McDaniel questioned.

McDaniel said she remembers the day Darlene -- now known as Henson -- disappeared. She had taken the bus to pick her up here at Bell and Dowling. But by the time she got here, Darlene was gone.

"I just want to let you know I hadn't forgot you," McDaniel said. "I tried to save you. Lord knows I did."

The McDaniels family passed around the phone, trying to make up for five decades of lost time in just minutes. They talked about Henson's resemblance to her mom, Helen, who passed away a decade ago. Now, they are planning a family reunion.

"When you tried to find someone for 55 years -- and all this over night," Henson said. "I'm happy, I'm shocked. All these pieces that's been floating around you in my heart."

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