Woman, 61, Missing as a Child, Finds Her Family After 55 Years

California woman allegedly snatched as girl in Texas finds way back to family.

ByABC News via logo
November 15, 2009, 10:17 AM

Nov. 15, 2009— -- Dollie Ann Henson has been seeking her family for more than half a century, ever since she was kidnapped by a neighbor as a child, she said. Now, she's finally found them.

The 61-year-old California woman was reunited with the aunt and sister she barely remembers, and a niece she has never known, in a touching reunion Saturday on "Good Morning America Weekend," in New York.

Henson and her daughter Kia'Ora flew from the West Coast to meet Donilla McDaniel, her aunt, Rita McDaniel, her sister, and Valencia McDaniel, her niece, who came from Houston.

Henson was just 5 years old when, she said, she was kidnapped. She was playing at a neighbor's home in Houston, she claimed, when the neighbor woman asked her if she wanted to go on a train ride. She was first taken to Louisiana, then to California.

All the while, Henson said, she was told her biological family never wanted her, and she would never be able to find them. Her name and birth certificate were changed, and said she was unable to trace her family because she didn't know her real identity. She's been living in the San Francisco area ever since, some 1,600 miles away from the family she never knew.

Henson claims her alleged kidnapper changed Henson name, birth date and birth certificate -- and kept all of her identification information locked in the trunk of a car.

Shortly before the alleged kidnapper's death, a fire destroyed the car and the documents it contained.

ABC News is not releasing the name of Henson's alleged kidnapper because the woman was never formally accused of or charged with a crime. She passed away in 1977.

Asked on "GMA Weekend" if she knew as a child she had been kidnapped, Henson explained, "I didn't know the word 'kidnapped,' but I knew that I had been taken."

"GMA Weekend" anchor Kate Snow introduced the Henson and McDaniel families on the set, and it was a tearful reunion as the women hugged and laughed.

"Oh my, goodness! Hi!" Henson exclaimed as she embraced her sister, Rita.

"I can't believe this. It's awesome. It's just, you know, closure in my heart. It's just unbelievable," said Henson as she sat among three generations of her family.