Transcript for Man Abducted as Baby Learns Parents' Secret
A few minutes you're going to meet a young man with an amazing story he was applying for a job. When he found out about a secret his parents have kept from him his entire life. He was not biologically really their son two decades earlier his story made headlines in New York. When he was whisked away by Barry and Judith smiley who were losing a bitter custody battle. It's a drama still unfolding we're gonna get the details now from Karla Davis. It was an adoption gone wrong a court had ordered the -- is to return the little boy they called Matthew Jason. After the baby's biological parents said they had given him up against their will. But the -- his birth parents Anthony Mancini and Debbie Gardner came to get him the smiley is fled with the baby. The child's birth parents searched desperately for him for years. Not knowing his adoptive parents had run to Albuquerque, New Mexico and changed their names to prop. Barry and Judith became Bennett to marry the -- hit in -- site in the middle income neighborhoods. And over the next two decades quietly raised the sun they considered rightfully there's. But last August 21 year old Matthew -- applied for a job at the New Mexico department of corrections. It was then he learned there were problems with his birth certificate. And then that Bennett -- his adoptive father told him the whole story. At a news conference this weekend and Matthew showed allegiance to the only parents he has ever known and. In the end I hope you know all -- to be resolved and in a peaceful manner something that can give -- found wings a little bit overall closure. And maybe put it behind us up about five minutes start here. -- prompt turned himself then charged with kidnapping Mathieu two decades ago his wife also justice indictment. They had twenty years with the child they took now if charged and convicted they could face 25 years in prison. And -- a few moments Matthew -- will join us but first we're going to meet the family. There's just found -- his biological family his legal father Anthony receiving. His grandfather Dick preceding his uncle -- -- his aunt paddy Hannan. And Anthony -- -- lawyer Frederick McGovern has been involved in the case from the very beginning -- are grateful to you all for being here. Mr. missing. He has said -- -- -- the parents who raised him does that wound to. Well -- I guess it is that hurts but I guess you would expect something like that. Being with somebody for so long. Two weeks ago he met him for the first time masters all those years 22 years what happened and that. Just a flood of emotions. There you everything is sort of overly years to see him kind of you know he looks like his brother. What did you do did you changes hands -- just around him a hug and say hello and welcome. You know this is a family. I mean that there's so many things that I want you want to say also that you just dumbfounded you know don't come out when you think gets to what's. Why should us -- this home assures that that -- But hopefully -- a -- -- good chance I think people need to have a sense of how hard this family searched. Over the years rich. Give me a sense of the lengths to which you all went to try to find it. Lies had mentioned the other day that my mom and dad my brother was very young my mom and general also -- and very instrumental looking for him every day. For -- -- two years my mom is passed away in November and they had a great passion. To complete the family there was an emptiness there because. This child who was not part of -- And Dick spent a 100000 dollars all told private investigators you actually went up one point yourself because you heard he was there and staked out. You didn't loaded them by -- she was very that it was known and -- -- she spent the week that. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- we believe my love. Went to -- and he wasn't there so she knew he's out -- and then she brought him to meet us. And it from here we'll we'll try to go on. And patted -- on a day went by that members of the Stanley did not think about him. And you're -- for him who never really -- about a whale was -- worry was. Ones we -- for -- if he was safe over what was going on district -- As you know the smile -- we'll probably saying that. -- how Everett came about. After just a few. Days they began to raise and then -- thirteen months into -- the -- said that they had to give him back. And that after all these years they took good care of him. -- at a cost for some kind of sympathy. Well that's what they're doing right now it's sad and unfortunate that. That man is being used in this fashion the simple fact of the matter -- that is that. -- this was not a legal adoption it was an illegal placement. The -- they they exhausted all their legal remedies when the by fifteen months of age but his return had been ordered much earlier. But -- -- about possible penalties up to 25 years. It did a terrible thing they took someone else's child they knew what they were doing they fled the state they took upon that and they enjoyed. The they enjoyed Matthews childhood in deprives his family. Of his childhood. -- -- -- If that's an impossible way to get Matthew back to you want to see this case prosecutors. Have set up to me. That's -- up to me it's it's it's up to that as a judicial system of the Cyprus will be done. To me. Assists. I have not I have no no say in what goes on here I mean this -- -- -- decision what would have do you worry that -- -- strange -- for ever. From Matthew I hope not I mean I hope -- understands -- you know I wanted to do was protect them I'm not you know I have no Sam what what what happens. You also -- mr. smiling in a courtroom for the first time yes. What did you say to him. Content I didn't say anything -- just. There's lots of -- What is it you most want Matthew to hear from you right after all he loved. Below we never stopped loving them. And and never stop looking for those stopped looking for and he had birthday -- and -- remove -- all lives we. I know myself. I'm simulation play Willie. It's just unfortunate that itself fairly festival tour that -- And we did -- the wrong. Well. And just a few minutes as we said -- he's going to join us right here and we'll get a chance to hear what he has to say. About. This family. And the family that face the possibility now of jail and Good Morning America can. We're going back now to the story of a family reunited with a son allegedly. Taken from them kidnapped some say more than twenty years ago. Joining us now is that sun. Matthew propp was now 22 and with him attorney Fred C Martinez sent me thank you both for being here Matthew -- He seems sort of well who who can blame him disoriented by office. Actually you know. I'm not sure disorder and does your word. You know. Are -- From on what I believe. You know and that's soil all we'll send. We just turned to the scene saying. In tears how much they have loved you all things for years. Spent a life savings looking for you. Kept birthday presents and Christmas presents for you all these years. I think that mr. we've seen your biological dad has said never -- day went by that he didn't feel it's just devoid. -- lost. Without you. -- -- -- -- -- I understand you know what they must've gone through and you know I have sympathy for Toronto and threw him. But by the same token you know my. My parents. In the -- had. That same model of farmers and you know again I would never say that you know I. I don't think about what they must've gone through but. Everytime I start to think -- I start to think about what my parents -- had to go through having to give me up thirteen months later. And and it wouldn't have been -- on anybody's part and in the house of them. And mr. Husseini of biological status and they feel in the way they were punished for obeying the law. Because there was a point at which they should've just taken -- Enron's. And they didn't do it. We'll I mean -- You know when it comes I'm pretty much speechless as to what to -- You know I can't explain what happened you know it. My memory of being normal human being started -- about five and six on you know I don't have a recollection of what happened part of and you know I I -- says as to what exactly happened about because -- I'm not. Fully aware of everything to. A neighbor -- quoted -- one of the papers saying that. That they thought you it's suspected that perhaps you were adopted -- seen something that made you wonder even earlier. -- but what it was was. Just to feel it if you -- feelings about things and you know what when I was younger I have a feeling that I was adopted. But. You know it it it wouldn't have mattered if you and is still doesn't matter to the fact is. I was brought up by two very good people and I had a very good childhood her great child. And I wouldn't change anything about my childhood. Or my someone. -- -- -- what about this. The law. It is the law. It is a loss but we have this fine young man here and now he has two sets of parents. And Matthew has told many other people that now he's going to have profoundly New Mexico. He hopes to have a found -- in New York. But what is the proper response of the law to 22 years for biological parents searching for their. To be tempered by justice and fairness and consider. The whole picture. What was it like for you when Anthony was -- walked in the room and you saw him and he embraced -- Emotional obviously. You know I think for the first hour that everybody was -- there you know we all pondered questions -- but known to really ask anything because. He just couldn't get it -- And you know I've had the for the privilege of of meeting room and spending time with -- and you know in the past two weeks we've we've been exchanging email and phone calls and you want them in your life outside their idea of you know -- I embrace opportunities. It's to bring in more people in my life. And you know like my predecessor I -- -- -- profoundly. In New Mexico and someone out here. And what do you think and I know it's and and an impossible. Certainly difficult question but what do you think justice would be. For what happened 22 years ago. You know. You. Can't really go into the because I obviously a very biased opinion about this. You know my supporters fully with my parents and you know my hope would be that that this gets taking service swiftly and fairly as -- -- You know what what what they need to understand is is sending my parents to prison for 25 years affects me directly. But they said -- out of their control I'm I don't mean you know the receiving I mean in terms of justice case than the total spectrum. They had a last -- to you. And I know that you felt awkward on television interacting with them that -- TU was how much they loved you put your last words of them. -- -- -- It's establish you know a good loving relationship with them starting from two weeks ago and -- and carrying on. But it but. Everybody just understand. You know my -- also for my parents. Thanks for being here -- different -- thing for you. Then again I can only imagine what it does have the world's entirely different one day.
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