Investigative Genealogist Reconnects Lost Family Members

Part 2: Pam Slaton had a negative experience after tracking down her own birth mother years ago.
6:31 | 12/27/15

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Transcript for Investigative Genealogist Reconnects Lost Family Members
Reporter: Three searchers, trying to find the missing pieces of their lives. Louise, left in a New York City phone booth as a newborn baby. Candy, a teenage mother who promised to find the baby she was forced to give up for adoption. And John, abandoned with a brother in a basement apartment when they were just babies. For half his life, John Keller searched in vain for his missing brother, and then one day, several years ago, he happened to see a TV show about searchers just like him. My name is Pam Slaton, I'm a professional genealogist. And I had to be home, every week, when that show hit. Reporter: Because you knew that this was somebody who might to able help you? This woman, this woman was real. Reporter: John hired Pam to look for his brother. This is my office. This is where it all happens. My stacks are kind of broken up by current, not feelin' it, driving me crazy. Reporter: Pam Slaton is a one-woman department of missing persons. I put in the biological father's name. Reporter: She calls herself an investigative genealogist. I find your case completely intriguing. Reporter: Pam knows firsthand not all searches end well. You yourself were adopted as a baby. I am. Reporter: And you yourself went on a hunt to find out who you were. I did. Reporter: But Pam says her birth mother did not want to be found. She rejected Pam, for the second time. Years later, the memory still hits a nerve. Wow. You know, it's been 20 years. I don't usually -- it just -- it was -- it changed my identity. It's really the only way I can explain it. Reporter: Pam not only survived that trauma, she wrote a book about unlocking family mysteries and discovered her calling -- helping other searchers like Louise Jones, searching for the mother who left her in a Manhattan phone booth in 1965. How are you? Good. I think the investigation was simple. Nothing came back. Reporter: She goes to the Manhattan phone where she was left. Looking for anyone that might know anything about an abandoned baby 49 years ago. Asking for information. This is what I do for a living. Reporter: What is it about her story that's so difficult? How are you? That's where it all started. And it's emotional. Reporter: That missing brother is the focus of John's search. There's nothing, it's like he doesn't even exist. Reporter: They ring bells and knock on doors looking for a neighbor who might remember the family. Do you happen to know the people that live here? Reporter: But if there are answers to John's questions, they are no longer to be found in the neighborhood where the mystery began. All right, so listen, I will be in touch with you okay? And then we'll talk about what happens next. Reporter: John is disappointed, but Pam, back home at her computer, gets a break. I found something really interesting that I want to show you. Reporter: Searching for John's biological father on ancestry.com, Pam finds he was from West Virginia. Just on a hunch I put in the father's name and I put in West Virginia. Reporter: An old city directory from a small town in West Virginia pops up, and there looking back at her from the dusty digital pages, John Keller's biological parents -- both of them. We have Dewey and Helen. They lived in the rear of a home on main street in a little town called Huntington, west Virgina. We finally now have a starting point in this case. Reporter: Pam and John fly to West Virginia. All right, ready? Let's go. Let's do this! Good luck. Hoorah, let's hit it. Reporter: They drive around the town his parents once called home. They visit the post office. They stop at the office of vital records, hoping to get a look at the brother's birth certificate, but it's not there. They ask for directions to the house where his parents once lived. Hello, got a question for you. We are trying to find an old address of 225 main street. I don't know, actually. Reporter: But even the mail carrier can't help. Like John's brother, the house seems to have disappeared. The West Virginia road trip yields no direct evidence of his brother's whereabouts. It's part of the journey, and you have to pick yourself up and start over. Reporter: Pam doesn't take every case that comes her way. When candy Wagner asked her to help find the daughter she'd given up for adoption nearly 50 years before, Pam said no. It's funny. I didn't want her case. Reporter: Why not? Initially, because upstate cases are known to be extremely difficult because -- Reporter: Why? New York laws for adoption are so strict. Reporter: But Pam's husband, driver and usually silent partner, Mike, spoke up. He's, like, "Oh, you know, she sounds so nice. Just -- just take a look at it." Okay, Mike. Go ahead. Reporter: Candy had been told that her baby would not have been adopted by anyone living near her small town. But Pam didn't rule that out. And I came up with a list of everyone up in that region. Reporter: Every baby girl born on -- Every baby girl -- in that region born on that day. Reporter: When we come back, the hunt for candy's daughter leads to the unexpected. A confrontation with her past that may be too much to bear. Stay with us.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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