Mother, Son Reconnect After 35 Years Apart

Published Nov. 14, 2013 by Imperial Beach Patch.

Earlier this month Kathy Amaya came home from work, spoke to her son she had not heard from in 35 years, then went to her room and “cried for hours,” her husband Bobby Purcell said.

“I was sitting here when she was talking to the border patrol and then got off the phone. And after she got off the phone, she went in the bedroom and cried for hours. She just could not believe it,” Purcell said. The two had not spoken since David Amaya was two years old but will meet again in person later this month. Kathy Amaya and her son David were reunited Nov. 1 after her son David crossed the border from Mexico two days earlier.

David had been living in San Luis, Potosi in central Mexico with his grandparents, according to the Border Patrol. On Oct. 30 he was arrested after crossing the border with Mexican nationals in Goat Canyon in Imperial Beach and brought to the IB station.

“The man carried no identification, and originally claimed to be a Mexican citizen,” said Gerardo Gutierrez in a statement. “During routine processing, the man changed his story and claimed to be a United States citizen taken to Mexico by his father at the age of two.”

Agents investigated his claim to be an American and were able to obtain a copy of his birth certificate from Cook County, IL, then tracked down Kathy in Chippewa Falls, WI. They don’t speak the same language, David didn’t know he has three siblings and Kathy didn’t know if she had any grandchildren, she said.

“My son told me he was trying to find me for like 20 years. He was looking for me and I was looking for him and neither one of us had very much luck. We’re going to be like total strangers to each over but he’s my son and I can’t turn him away,” Kathy said.

Her son went missing after Kathy and her husband separated when David was two. Kathy attempted to file a report but was told nothing could be done because he was in Mexico, she said.

“We were married so every once and a while he would take him on the weekend or something and then one time he took him and never came back,” Kathy said. “My father told me my mother had left me abandoned and orphaned,” David told NBC 7 through an interpreter.

David is currently staying at a church in Point Loma.

“I don’t know my mother, and I find out she’s been looking for me for 30 years, and I have the longing to meet her for the first time.” David has a ticket to fly to Wisconsin Nov. 26. “He still has to get his paperwork together. He needs an ID and social security card in order to fly. She’s hoping to save to fly out there and come back with him,” said Kathy’s husband Bobby Purcell.

“She’s nervous and wants to get him here. He doesn’t speak any English and he will have a layover in Chicago and she is really worried he will disappear again.”

After spending some time to get to know each other better and celebrate Thanksgiving together, a family reunion of sorts is scheduled to be held in coming weeks. About 50 family members will be invited to attend.

“And he’s going to run into a big family. He has a big extended family. it was just him and his grandparents in Mexico I believe and he’s going to jump into a huge family of cousins and uncles and nieces,” Purcell said.

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