Missing for 37 years, long-lost daughter reunites with family in Cleveland (part 1)

A Mississippian had no idea she was taken as an infant. Now, she has been reunited with her family.

Missing for 37 years, woman finds family in Cleveland (part 1)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - In March, Jessica Douglas found a family she never knew existed.

Douglas didn’t know her story had started years ago with her biological mother, Sandra Osorio.

Osorio was living in Caguas, Puerto Rico in the late 70s to early 80s.

Osorio was unmarried, had four children and lived in one of the the roughest areas, la Barriada Morales.

“I was poor, really poor--just like any Puerto Rican living with four kids, as poor as you can ever be,” Osorio said. “Something came up and I had to leave Puerto Rico, and I could only take two of my kids, I could only afford to take two and the two youngest had to stay--one with my aunt and one with my friend."

Carmen Pimentel lived nearby and agreed to take care of Douglas, one of the younger children, for three months.

Douglas’s father, Rey Flores, had also gotten into trouble and had to leave the island immediately.

When he returned for Douglas, Pimentel took off with the young baby.

Osorio settled in Cleveland after living in Illinois and Michigan, and she never forgot the daughter she had tried desperately to find.

But, as it turned out, it was Douglas who found her mother.

“My auntie called me and said this girl is looking for Carmen. She’s not looking for you, she doesn’t know you exist in this world, she is asking for Carmen," Osorio recalled.

Douglas believed Carmen Pimentel, the woman who had taken her, was her mother.

Douglas asked Osorio to take a DNA test and the results were exactly what Osorio expected.

Osorio was 99.9 percent the mother of Douglas.

Still Jessica had a hard time believing anyone was searching for her.

“I feel that if somebody is kidnapped that the FBI is involved, police get involved, there is a missing person and Amber Alert, there are faces on milk carton’s," Douglas said.

Osorio promised her daughter she did what she could afford.

Douglas’s father was murdered shortly after he returned to Puerto Rico.

With no financial or emotional support Osorio gave up the search.

Pimental was living in New York and had lost custody of Douglas when she was five.

Douglas was placed in a foster care system and was eventually adopted.

Douglas often wondered what happened to Carmen, the woman she believed was her biological mother.

Douglas agreed to meet Osorio, and the rest of her family.

Two cars left Cleveland headed to Mississippi at the end of April, for a reunion 37 years in the making.

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