kidnapped missing child adopted

Adopted Woman Looks Into Her Past, Finds Out She’s Been “Missing” for Decades


| LAST UPDATE 07/05/2022

By Conner Goodman

Shawne grew up with adoptive parents and decided that she wanted to find her birth mom. But during her investigation, she discovered something darker than she had ever imagined. Here's her unbelievable story.

Questioning Everything

It's no surprise that those who have been adopted arguably go through many different emotions when trying to find their biological parents. Whether it be a good or bad situation, it's often an intense ride.

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@flowerrage via Instagram

So when Shawne Bolton started investigating, she expected it to be a bumpy journey - but nothing could have prepared her for what she found. At just 26 years old, her entire life was flipped upside down. She began to question everything she'd ever known…

Where It All Began

Growing up, Shawne knew that the people raising her weren't her biological parents. Unlike some other adopted kids, she was told about it when she was still pretty young. She was probably quite shocked to learn about that - but not as shocked as what she found out years later.

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@flowerrage via Instagram

Things were going well for her. After getting engaged in her mid-twenties, Shawne thought it was a great time to start looking into who her birth mom was. Maybe because she felt everything in her life was secure, and she was prepared to find the truth about where she came from.

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The Search Begins

The first step in Shawne's plan to find her birth mom was to check if she had a criminal record. Since she had basically no other information, she assumed this would be the best place to start her search. So, she contacted the police station in the area she was born.

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HAUKE-CHRISTIAN DITTRICH / Contributor via Getty Images

Shawne tried to give the officer she reached on the phone as much information as she could gather, such as her age, her birthday, etc. The policeman took it all and ran a few background checks. In no time at all, the police reached out to Shawne to share what incredible information they had found.

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A Chilling Discovery

The police officer was in disbelief at what he had come across regarding Shawne and her past - and he knew that she would also be in complete shock after hearing it. So after calling her up, the officer explained to Shawne that she might want to sit down to hear what he had to say...

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Herwin Bahar via Getty Images

Shawne was worried and could no longer wait to hear what he uncovered. Finally, he revealed that Shawne was actually a missing person. For years she has been recorded as unfound. A million questions started running through her head. How could this be true? Where did she come from?

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Digging Into The Past

Her goal was to find her birth mom, something that arguably many adopted people try to do. But what Shawne discovered was far more shocking than what she ever thought she'd find. Yet, it's quite common for a person to be curious about where they came from.

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@loungethelatte via Instagram

In some instances where people try to find their birth parents, it can be a joyous experience, and they walk away with a healed relationship. But unfortunately, for others, they can learn things they might not have wanted to know… each story is different and unique, especially Shawne's.

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Painful Emotions

When adopted kids go out and search for their birth parents, they can run into painful truths. Sadly, many of these individuals suffer a great deal of hard emotions, and some are left to deal with them alone. Every family is different, and some kids regrettably get adopted into not-so-great homes.

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@deevaa_babe via Instagram

The neglect and hurt they feel can possibly turn into bad habits and lifestyle choices. So it's understandable that those who have a hard time dealing with learning about their past might seek professional help from a psychologist to manage those overwhelming feelings.

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Amateur Detective

Searching for biological parents can not only cause many emotions to arise, but it can also lead a person into a haze of detective work. It can be difficult to find them, especially since many of the birth parents don't provide much information about who they are, where they live, and so on.

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vgabusi via Getty Images

Luckily, these days it can be a tad bit easier than it once was. Today we have access to the internet, and even having a birth mom or dad's name can be extremely beneficial. With one search on social media, a person can often find whoever they're looking for… even if sometimes it doesn't end up being a pleasant situation.

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Unfortunate Discoveries

Although social media can be a useful tool when searching for someone, it can also lead to unfortunate circumstances. For instance, if a biological parent that gave up their child decides years later that they wanna reunite with said child, they may use the internet to find them.

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@sugeng.riyadi.2687 via Instagram

But without permission from the parents who raised the child, things can get sticky. A birth parent unexpectedly entering a child's life can cause turmoil and confusion. So sadly, it's not always a joyous experience when adopted kids and their birth parents meet.

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Connecting the Dots

At the end of the day, people will still do what they want to do. Whether or not social media is an available tool, there are many other ways for adopted kids to reach out to the person who gave birth to them. All that is really needed is one piece of crucial information, and they're good to go.

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@flowerrage via Instagram

Whether that be an address, a name, an age, or even a location, the search can all start with one small clue. Ultimately, adoptions usually are done through either a private or public agency that forever holds on to the records of the child and the adoption. All a person needs is access to them.

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A Mother's Love

Using small bits of information to find the truth is exactly what Shawne did. After learning at 10 years old that her mom and dad weren't her biological parents, she knew one day she'd set out to find her birth mom. Now, she finally shared her journey with her followers on TikTok.

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@pumpkin_princess_baby via Instagram

Shawne revealed in one video, "For the first ten years of my life, I didn't know that they weren't my parents. I thought that my dad was my dad, and my mom was my mom." That was until her parents revealed the truth… but they didn't give away too much information.

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An Unexpected Lead

The only thing that Shawne knew was what area she was born in, nothing else. Not even the name of her birth mom. It was a good starting step, but not exactly enough. Shawne knew she needed more if she was ever really going to get the truth about her mom.

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Thomas Stone via Getty Images

Luckily she realized that the police at her birthplace could potentially give her answers. And she was right! Except nothing could have prepared her for what she was about to come across. All of her excitement soon came to a crashing halt after hearing what the officials told her.

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Breaking the News

Shawne had her life figured out by the time she got the bad news. She had a few kids of her own and was on her way to getting married. So it was undoubtedly difficult to find out her whole life up until that point was nothing like it appeared to be. But she didn't let that stop her from living it.

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@flowerrage via Instagram

In fact, she shared the entire situation on the social media platform TikTok. Shawne recalled the events, “[The sheriff] became extremely interested in who I was and my personal information and, after a few minutes of having a conversation about who I was, he asked me to please sit down and that he had something to tell me.”

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Recalling the Shocking Events

Shawne had no idea what to expect when she was asked to be seated. She was confused and began thinking of the worst possible outcomes. Had her mom passed away? What could the policeman possibly have to tell her? She continued explaining the story to her followers.

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@thebeardedmom via TikTok

“I sat down,” Shawne explained in her video. “He told me that he couldn’t find any information on my mother but that I was a missing person.” There must have been something wrong, she assumed. But as it turned out, the policeman was right… Shawne was in shock.

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Full Circle

Quickly the sheriff explained what he was talking about so as to not further frighten the woman on the other end of the phone. He explained to Shawne that not long after she was born in the year 1980, a missing person report was filed with the police station.

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@danni_gaminglove via Instagram

Her birth parents had told the police officers that their newborn daughter was kidnapped. Immediately they went on the search to find the baby, but unfortunately, they were unsuccessful. And the little girl was gone for good. That was, until 26 years later when she called the police station one fateful day.

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The Private Investigator

All those years had gone, and yet still the authorities were never able to track down Shawne. And since she was just a baby when she was kidnapped, the child grew up her whole life not knowing the truth. She questioned who the people she called "mom and dad" really were.

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@arik_dafan_investigators_team via Instagram

She wanted answers to the thousands of questions racing through her mind. All this had begun because she wanted to find her birth mom, but sadly, her detective work had led her to an unfortunate revelation. At that point, she decided she needed to hire a private investigator to get to the bottom of it all.

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Gaining Clarity

Luckily, her private investigator was determined to find out what really happened to her as a baby. Through his work, he not only found his answers, but he found Shawne's birth mother. Finally, the light was being shed on everything from her disturbing past.

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@flowerrage via Instagram

What happened? As it turned out, bits and pieces of the story were actually true. The parents Shawne knew as mom and dad were, in fact, not her real parents - but they didn't exactly kidnap her. Even though the police officers originally told her she was taken as a baby, what the P.I. found was way worse.

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The Ultimate Scheme

As it turned out, Shawne wasn't adopted, nor was she kidnapped - she was actually sold. The woman who gave birth to her had found a couple and gave them her baby for money. Afterward, she went to the police and fabricated a story about how her child was taken from her.

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@thebeardedmom via TikTok

Shawne's birth mom even pretended to be a part of the investigation, telling everyone she was also searching for her missing daughter. Everyone in her life, from friends to family, was unaware of the lie. "My mother's family — they all believe I was kidnapped," Shawne explained in a video clip.

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Coming Clean

Shawne's mother took her fake story to places no one could have ever imagined. When telling the law enforcement agents what happened, she revealed that she thought a man named Steven took her daughter. But as it turned out, this part of her story was partially true.

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@thebeardedmom via TikTok

Although Steven didn't kidnap Shawne, he was the man who raised her… This strange detail led investigators to later wonder if Shawne's birth mother secretly wanted the police to find her daughter? They wondered what was the point of giving away the name of the man she sold her daughter to.

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Who Were Her Parents?

Despite Shawne's mother giving up Steven's name, the detectives never found any information on him since they failed to do any proper investigations. And at the same time that this was happening, Steven and his wife, Angie, were welcoming home their new baby girl.

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@emilyselegance via Instagram

The couple who ended up raising Shawne had no idea what was really happening with the police. The news that their daughter was missing never reached them. Yet, Steven and Angie did buy Shawne… and unfortunately, this was just one of the many alarming things they had done.

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Childhood Trauma

Unfortunately, Shawne's birth mother didn't sell her to attentive and affectionate parents. This may not be so surprising since Angie and Steven did buy a child illegally from a stranger. So sadly, growing up, Shawne faced a great deal of trauma and neglect from her mom and dad.

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@0becki0 via Instagram

Shawne's upbringing was not a pleasant one. She went through numerous horrible experiences, and her life was chaotic and unstable. As an adult, she believes she received this kind of treatment because of the way that Steven and Angie ended up getting her into their lives.

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“They Didn’t Love Me”

Despite dealing with unfit parents who treated her poorly, Shawne has never been afraid to speak about her traumatic childhood. In fact, she often openly shares her story with all of her followers on her social media accounts. It has even led to her growing a decent following.

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@0becki0 via Instagram

Shawne tries her absolute best to paint the picture of what growing up in her shoes was like. She explained her experiences in a TikTok video, “It was confusing. I couldn’t work out why they didn’t love me and why they treated me as terribly as they did.”

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Getting Closure... Kind Of

After such a painful first few years, Shawne hoped that finding her birth parents would give her a glimmer of love and happiness within her family. Yet it ended up making things worse. The trauma continued, but eventually, Shawne wanted to get closure.

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@thebeardedmom via TikTok

After the private investigator found her birth mom, Shawne contacted her and asked if they could meet in person. Sadly, yet again, what could have been a positive situation ended up causing more pain. Rather than getting closure, her birth mom refused to take responsibility for her actions. In fact, she never apologized.

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Meeting Her Grandmother

Shawne left that experience with her biological mom feeling worse than before. But there was another glimmer of hope she had. She had high hopes that her birth mom's extended family would welcome her with open arms… yet things didn't go quite as planned (again).

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@flowerrage via Instagram

When the reports that Shawne was kidnapped were filed, the only person who knew the truth was the woman who went to the police. Her family truly believed that Shawne was taken. So all these years, her biological grandma spent mourning the loss of her granddaughter.

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An Overwhelming Outcome

When Shawne's grandma heard the truth about her disappearance, she was excited to finally meet her. But she had created an image in her head all this time that when she finally saw Shawne face to face, she was disappointed. Sadly the two women didn't get along.

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@thebeardedmom via TikTok

For Shawne, she felt she couldn't catch a break. From one disappointment to another, emotions were high after she was declined acceptance from her biological family. Thankfully though, despite all the darkness in her life, there was a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.

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A Plan is Hatched

Shawne continuously took time out of her day to relive her painful story with her followers on TikTok. And it proved to be worth it because her videos gained a ton of traction. And before she knew it, she received a huge fan base. Each new person who followed her was more supportive than the next.

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@thebeardedmom via TikTok

One intrigued fan took things to a whole other level when they offered to help Shawne. They suggested that together they go out and search for Shawne's biological father. This follower hoped that this could be the last chance for Shawne to get some closure for her heartbreaking past.

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Finding Her Birth Dad

Sure enough, Shawne accepted the follower's selfless request. But as it turned out, they didn't need much help finding her birth father. Among all of the waiting and searching, eventually, the user uncovered the truth about Shawne's dad. Yet, till today, no one is sure exactly how this follower did that…

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@bluebloodi_ via Instagram

But Shawne wasn't too worried about that - she was just hoping that maybe this would lead to even more answers. Especially after being rejected by her other family members... this could finally be her happy ending. So, she reached out to the man this user had tracked down and asked for a DNA test.

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Reunited, At Last

As it turned out, the stranger was happy to participate in the test. And, much to Shawne's delight: it was a match! She had finally found her birth father. And luckily, meeting him was unlike the other times she had met her biological family. She felt an instant bond with her long-lost father. But still, she wanted an explanation.

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@thebeardedmom via TikTok

The man revealed that back in the day, he and Shawne's birth mom had accidentally gotten pregnant. He explained that he wasn't actively involved with her biological mom and had no idea what happened to Shawne after she was born. Today, the father-daughter duo has a good relationship - he's even been in her TikTok clips.

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Picking Up the Broken Pieces

After everything she had been through, Shawne was emotionally drained. For as long as she could remember, she was rejected and abandoned by nearly every person who had entered her life. The recently engaged woman needed to process everything she had recently learned.

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@flowerrage via Instagram

The traumatic experience left Shawne feeling broken and confused about her entire life. Especially since she was the one who had to go out on her own and investigate her past. And sadly, this made her entire life do a 360, a heartache she never saw coming.

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"It's Complicated"

But despite all the turmoil and hardships she had overcome, Shawne still had positive feelings for some of her family members. She continued to hold a special place in her heart for Steven and Angie, the people who had bought her from her birth mom.

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@thebeardedmom via TikTok

"I did feel love at times…" Shawne explained in a TikTok video how she felt towards the people who raised her. "When you're in an abusive situation, you will take even little bits of love and cherish that. It's complicated." Yet she still has removed them from her life.

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Self-Love Is the Best Love

Fast forward to today, and Shawne is focusing on herself. “I’m doing much better now,” she said. “I own my own business. I don’t have any contact with any of my family. I do have a very complicated relationship with my children that I would love to repair. And I spend every day trying to do that. I’m not perfect.”

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@thebeardedmom via TikTok

Her comments are filled with supportive fans. "Love all the pieces of who you are. We grow and become different people with every choice we make! Choose happiness and self-love," she reflected. Her followers, us included, couldn't agree more. And we wish Shawne nothing but the best on her journey to healing and happiness...

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