Real Name: Jacklyn Harrington
Case: Lost Sister
Location: Hartwick, New York
Details: Bill Purinton (formerly Harrington), sixty-two, is a retired businessman from New Hampshire who is searching for his long-lost sister, Jackie. In 1934, the Harrington family was struggling to survive the Great Depression. Six of the Harrington children stayed at home alone during the day while their parents were at work. On August 3, 1934, the Harrington children had a birthday party for Bill and his younger sister, Jackie. That afternoon, however, members for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children arrived to take the four younger children away, as neighbors felt that they were being neglected. The social workers arrived while the parents were working and the birthday party was in progress. After the celebration was finished, the social workers took the four younger children away, while the two oldest children were left behind. Bill, then eight, was the oldest of the four. He, Jackie, and two other siblings were put up for adoption. All four were placed with different families in New York.
After returning from World War II, Bill began searching for his siblings and his parents. He made no progress until 1976, when he wrote to the records clerk in Hartwick, New York. Just as the clerk was replying to Bill's letter, a visitor arrived and gave the clerk an address for Bill's older sister Wanda. Within a year, Bill was able to track down all of his siblings, except two: Jackie and Ed. Also, in 1977, he was able to locate his mother in California, but sadly she passed away before he was able to reunite with her. He also learned that his father died in 1955.
In 1980, a researcher was able to locate a phone number for Bill's brother Ed, now named Ed Orvis. On Christmas Eve, the two siblings were put in contact with each other. By 1989, Bill, was able to locate all of his siblings and reunite with all of them, except for Jackie. Bill and his siblings are still searching for Jackie.
Extra Notes: This segment was featured as part of the February 1, 1989 episode.
Results: Solved. Several tips came in from the broadcast, most from people who claimed to have known and gone to school with Jackie in the 1940s and 1950s. Some claimed that she had married and adopted two children, and that one had since died. However, the tipsters did not know of Jackie's present whereabouts.
A local historian, Anita Harrison, learned about Bill's search through the Unsolved Mysteries broadcast and tried to help in his search. Then, surprisingly, in September 1997, Jackie Purinton herself came to Anita. A family that Jackie was visiting in Hartwick knew that Anita had been looking for Jackie and sent Jackie to her. Anita got in contact with Bill again and within a few days Jackie was reunited with Bill and his wife. In 2000, she was reunited with the rest of her long-lost siblings.