Real Names: Anamarie Hudson and Martha Carota
Case: Lost Siblings
Location: Salinas, California
Details: When Doreen Espinosa was just three years old, her father abandoned her family. By the time she was a young woman, she had been moved from one relative to another. When she became pregnant in the fall of 1952, the man she was seeing walked out on her. After that, she began dating Francis Laws. She was able to hide her pregnancy from him and did not tell him that on July 25, 1953, she gave birth to a baby girl and immediately gave her up for adoption. Four months later, in November 1953, she married Francis. Over the next few years, she and Francis had three sons: Ric, Mike, and Bryan. In 1962, the marriage ended, and sadly, Doreen was on her own again. She had no idea that her secret daughter knew who she was, and that she would one day start looking for her.
When she was in her early twenties, Debra Jaynes, Doreen's "secret" child, began searching for her. Debra made a habit of asking almost anyone she met if they knew her birth mother Doreen. Finally, a co-worker's aunt, Tillie Ramirez, told Debra that she had known Doreen for years. Tillie revealed to Debra that she was not the only daughter of Doreen's and that Doreen had given another daughter up for adoption in 1951. Within a few months, Debra had met her mother and three half-brothers. Debra asked her mother about her sister, but Doreen claimed that Tillie was wrong. When Debra asked about her birth father, Doreen was evasive.
In February 1997, Doreen Laws passed away. She never admitted the existence of another child and may have hoped that her secrets would go with her to the grave. Ironically, her death would reveal a new secret. When a neighbor called 911 to report Doreen's death, the operator who took the call was Edie Henderson. Edie's husband Robert was another of Doreen's secrets; she had given him up for adoption as well. For years, Robert had known that "Doreen Laws" was the name of his birth mother, but he did not want to contact her, for fear of rejection.
Sadly, for Robert, it was now too late; however, he was happy to reunite with his siblings, especially Bryan, as they had already been acquaintances beforehand. By the time Bryan and Robert had reunited as half-brothers, another bombshell was dropped: Doreen had another secret child. Robert's adoptive mother told him that Doreen had given birth to another daughter in 1963 who had also been given up for adoption. Robert and the newest sister had been conceived after Doreen and Francis had divorced. Ric believes that Doreen's changes in weight allowed her to have more children without anyone even noticing.
Doreen's children were astounded; their mother apparently had a total of seven children. She had two daughters before she married, three sons with Francis Laws, and another son and daughter after her divorce. Now, Doreen's children are searching for two remaining siblings: Doreen's daughter born in 1951 and the other daughter born in 1963.
Extra Notes: This segment was featured as part of the March 29, 1998 episode.
Results: Solved. After the segment was filmed, the daughter born in 1951, Martha Carota, was finally located in Aptos, California. Martha was reunited with her siblings in January 1998.
In June 1998, an independent researcher helped Doreen's children locate the daughter who was born in November 1963. Anamarie Hudson had grown up in Salinas, California, not far from her three half-brothers. Shortly thereafter, Anamarie was reunited with her siblings.
However, Doreen's children were shocked to discover that Doreen had given birth to an eighth child. In 2000, after determining the identity of Martha's father, the Laws learned through Martha's adoption papers about an older brother born in 1950. Richard Gonzales, the oldest brother, was located by the same investigator that found Anamarie. There was a second reunion filmed by Unsolved Mysteries, but the segment never aired. Unfortunately, Richard has since passed away, but not before all of Doreen's children met and formed a bond.