Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

The Children of Ethel Nation

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Scott merz1
Scott Merz
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Real Name: Dawnette Barker and Scott Merz
Case: Lost Family
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Date: January 1960 to 1966


Details: Ethel Nation was a nurse in San Antonio, Texas during the 1950s and 1960s who used deceit and subterfuge to abduct and illegally sell several children during her career. On Janurary 6, 1960, eighteen year-old Dylene Zolikoff gave birth to a daughter who Nation spirited off and sold under shady circumstances. Dylene spent years trying to track down her daughter without any help from Nation who remained obstinate about the whole business. After several years, Dylene and her now grown daughter were finally reunited on national television.
Dylene zolikoff and her daughter (left)
Dylene Zolikoff and her daughter (left)
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Unfortunately, this was not the only child Ethel Nation abducted from its birth mother. Two of those children, Scott Merz and Dawnette Barker, are also looking for their birth families. Scott was born in 1965 in San Antonio and given by Nation to a couple unable to have children who paid Ethel $1,200. When he was twelve, he began having strange dreams about a woman giving birth. His adoptive mother, Mary Merz, helped him to try and track down his mother and even collided with Nation trying to get the facts, but ever obstinate, Nation kept changing the facts on the details of his birth, finally getting upset at him and claiming that his mother did not want him and that she was a horrible person and that Scott shouldn't look for her. Scott was eventually "eerily" drawn to the Woodlawn Clinic, one of the places Nation had worked at in her life. The location was much like a place he had seen in his dreams. Scott was unable to find his mother, but he eventually met Dawnette Barker, who had been born in July 1966 and sold away by Ethel Nation as well and adopted by a childless couple in San Antonio. Dawnette's adopted parents did not believe that they were taking the baby home once they got there, so they gave Ethel their boat. Dawnette eventually discovered her birth mother's name was Gloria Cantu with her illegal adoption papers notarized by Ethel Nation. It is unknown as to how many children Ethel Nation illegally abducted and placed with other couples. Nation died in 1991, her secrets going to the grave with her.
Infant scott merz2
Scott Merz as an infant
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Extra Notes: This segment was featured as part of the October 28, 1992 episode.
Results: Unresolved. After the segment, several viewers called in to confirm Dawnette's mother as Gloria Cantu Martinez. She had never wanted to give Dawnette up for adoption, having been decieved by Nation to do so. She and Dawnette were soon reunited as a result, along with Dawnette's children. However, sadly, Scott Merz has not found any closure in his search.
Links: None

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