A brother and sister were reunited after 65 years apart, thanks to the online sleuthing of a 7-year-old boy.
For Betty Billadeau and her brother, Clifford Boyson, the reunion was a lifetime in the making after they were sent to separate foster homes around the time Betty was 5 years old and Clifford was 3.
Despite decades of searching for each other, it took the online detective work of a 7-year-old boy to bring the long lost siblings together.
“Nobody would help me until I came and met little Eddie,” Boyson said, referring to his landlord’s son, Eddie Hanzelin.
The 7-year-old said he was touched by his neighbor’s story and wanted to help him.
“Family is important,” Eddie said.
Using his mother’s Facebook account, Eddie got to work.
“I went on Facebook and I typed in Boyson,” he said. “There were a whole bunch of pictures that showed up. One of them kind of looked like Clifford and I zoomed in on it and it started to really look like Clifford, [so] I showed it to my mom and dad.”
Eddie’s father, Glenn Hanzelin, contacted Billadeau’s daughter over Facebook to help arrange the reunion.
On Saturday, the two siblings embraced for the first time in 65 years at a hotel near Boyson’s home in Davenport, Iowa.
“You’re about the same height mom was!” Boyson said when he saw his sister, who traveled from Missouri with her daughter and granddaughter for the reunion.
He presented her with pink roses. The three generations of Billadeau women gave him a suitcase so he would have “no excuses” for not visiting them in Missouri.
“The one thing he said is he has someone to send a Christmas card to now,” Billadeau said.
The two siblings plan to get together in Missouri soon to make up for all of those missing years.
And after that, 7-year-old Eddie has another hope for his good friend Clifford.
“He’s never been on vacation, ” he said. “And I want him to go on vacation to Disney World with me.”