What would you say if I told you that a five-year-old girl from Houston, Texas, was kidnapped from her home and then somehow reunited with her family fifty-five years later? Sounds like something out of a movie, right? But, this story is as real as it is shocking.
Thankfully today, there are laws in place that were developed to keep children and other vulnerable people safe from sexual predators. You can do a quick Texas offender search in your area to see where the convicted sex offenders are in your neighborhood. You never know what kind of catastrophe you can stop before it happens simply by knowing the truth about your surroundings.
Dollie Ann Henson was only five years of age when she was forcefully taken from her family by her neighbor. Her kidnapper moved her around from Louisiana to California. The woman would repeatedly tell Henson that her family didn’t want her, adding that she would never find them. In an attempt to completely erase tracks of the precious five-year-old, her name was changed by the woman who kidnapped her.
“I didn’t know the word ‘kidnapped,’ but I knew that I had been taken.”
Henson’s kidnapper eventually passed away in 1977, and she went on to make a life of her own in San Francisco, California. She eventually married and had kids.
For over half a century, Henson tried everything she could to get her old life back. But, all of her attempts at finding her biological family failed- mainly because she didn’t know her real identity. And then one day, she got really close– somehow finding the location of her old residence from which she was taken. But, she was crushed to find out that her childhood home, as she once knew it, is now gone… and it had been turned into a freeway.
Reconnecting with her family seemed to be a hopeless cause. That is, until her daughter Kia’Ora reached out to the Houston ABC affiliate KTRK, knowing Henson was born there. That’s when it happened! Her long-lost relatives just so happened to be watching the newscast, and then a KTRK reporter connected them. Unfortunately, Henson was not able to see her mother again since she had passed before the reunion.
However, her aunt- Donilla McDaniel, her sister- Rita McDaniel, and her niece- Valencia McDaniel, were pleased to see her. As it turns out, they had been looking for her all this time. But finding her was no walk in the park. It didn’t help that they were also searching for her under her birth name, ‘Darlene McDaniel’.
“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,” Henson said as she cried tears of joy.
Although this story has somewhat of a happy ending, not all instances of child abductions turn out so well. Keep an eye on your children, instruct them on what to look out for, and let them know that they are loved. You never know from one moment to the next when something like this can happen.