A Chicago native abducted as a toddler and taken to Mexico in the mid-1980s has finally reunited with his long-lost mother in California after more than 30 years of heartrending separation.
David Amaya, 37, told NBC7 he tossed and turned while trying to sleep Friday night, then, on Saturday, had breakfast and said a prayer. Amaya, who does not speak English, reportedly went to San Diego International Airport accompanied by a translator and met his mother, Kathy Amaya, after the latter’s flight landed at 11:20 a.m., local time from her home in Wisconsin.
“Te quiero. Te quiero, Mami,” he said, according to NBC7, to which Kathy Amaya replied, “I love you, too.”
"I’m all happy and I don’t want to let him go.”
- Kathy Amaya
The seeds of Saturday’s fateful meeting were sewn more than 30 years ago, when David, then a toddler, was reportedly removed from the home of Kathy’s sister and taken to Mexico.
“One day my ex-husband came to my sister, [who] was watching him and picked him up and never returned him,” Kathy Amaya told WEAU. “I went on the Internet searching a lot on Facebook and MySpace and all of that, but I had no luck.”
“My father told me my mother had left me abandoned and orphaned,” David told NBC 7. “I don’t know my mother, and I find out she’s been looking for me for 30 years, and I have the longing to meet her for the first time.”
David Amaya reportedly tried to cross the Mexico-U.S. border at San Diego on Oct. 30. But authorities there detained him for two days as he insisted to them that he was, indeed, an American citizen.
Finally, federal officials tracked down proof he had been born in Chicago in 1976. Shortly thereafter, they contacted his mother, who now resides in Wisconsin, and Saturday’s meeting was arranged.
“He's all grown up and I've never seen his graduation, his first day of school,” Kathy Amaya told NBC7, adding the pair plan to spend Thanksgiving in Wisconsin with David’s four siblings. “He has a grandmother. He has an aunt and uncle; lots and lots of cousins. . . I’m all happy and I don’t want to let him go.”