Real Names: William and Cynthia Zelinski
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Torrance, California
Details: Sharon Stevens, whose mother died when she an infant, was frequently abused by her father when she was a child. In 1959, when she was a kid, she was finally able to escape her home but was placed in a foster home where she was cold and bitter to her first set of foster parents. One day, she came home from school to find her social worker waiting for her. She had been kicked out of the foster home and would be taken in by a new foster family. The new foster parents were Bill and Cynthia Zelinski of Gardena, California.
At first, she was mean to the Zelinskis like she were to the other foster parents, but then she realized that this couple was different. They talked to her and showed that they cared about her. Every day that Sharon would come home from school for lunch, she would be tutored by Cynthia, who helped her go from being an F student to an A student. They Zelinskis also urged Sharon to pursue her childhood dream of learning ballet. Cynthia helped Sharon learn ballet and Bill put in a dance bar. Sharon remembers another happy moment when the Zelinskis bought Sharon a new dress for a birthday party. Sharon was reluctant to go at first but Cynthia went with her and she felt comfortable. Before going to the Zelinskis, Sharon had a very low self-esteem, but she feels that they were able to bring up her self-esteem and make her feel loved.
Sharon finally felt happy living with the Zelinskis until a year later when she found out that her father had remarried and that she had to return to him. Back at her father's home, the only comfort she had was a doll that the Zelinskis had given her. A few weeks later, she returned home late from a friend's house to find her brother waiting. He told her that their father was going to beat her. She immediately went to a phone booth to call the Zelinskis, who sent a cab to pick her up. Once again she finally felt safe with them. However, a few hours later, her father showed up and took her back once again. She knew that she would be beaten, so she put several layers of clothes on. He once again beat her savagely with his belt, cutting through several layers of clothes. He also cut her across the face with the belt.
A few days later, however, the police were called after school officials noticed signs of abuse on Sharon. Her father was arrested and Sharon was sent to several other foster homes. However, she was not placed in the Zelinski's home and never saw them again.
Sharon went on to have two children when she was a teenager. Tragically, her second child was later killed by an abusive relative. In 1974, her life turned around when she met her husband Dean. The two have a six-year-old son and live near Sharon's married daughter. Sharon believes that she would be living a much worse life if it hadn't been for the Zelinskis. Now, Sharon wants to find them and thank them for all the compassion they gave her.
Extra Notes: This segment originally ran on the November 22, 1989 episode.
Results: Solved. On the night of the broadcast, Bill and Cynthia Zelinski saw themselves on Unsolved Mysteries. They were overjoyed to learn that Sharon was looking for them and contacted the show. On November 25, 1989, Sharon traveled to the Zelinski home in Laguna Niguel, California, and was joyfully reunited with the couple. She credits them for the person she has become.