Real Name: Brendan Vaughan
Case: Lost Friend
Location: Bronx, New York
Details: In 1956, ten-year-old Tom Vaughn was placed in the "Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Home For Children", a New York City orphanage after his mother Jean and his father went through a bitter divorce. By 1954, Jean was hiding Tom and his younger brother Dick from their father; for two years, she placed them in nine different rooming houses and foster homes. Finally, they ended up in the Bronx living in the basement of an apartment complex. The boys were usually left alone; however, the landlord and his wife often watched over them.
One day, Catholic Charities stepped in; Jean was ruled an unfit mother and was pressured to send the boys to the orphanage in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx. When it was time to tell goodbye to their mother, Tom was paralyzed with fear and unable to speak. Although the brothers were able to see their mother on weekends, they were forced to live in separate parts of the orphanage.
Tom became more and more upset; then, he met his roommate Brendan Vaughan. Brendan was the first person to talk to Tom at the orphanage; he refused to let Tom stay quiet and upset. Brendan was there for Tom in this new and difficult time. In Catechism class, Brendan helped Tom with answering questions from the nuns. Brendan also gave Tom a new perspective on their situations; life at the orphanage was not as bad as Tom made it seem. Overall, Brendan was able to help Tom overcome his depression.
A year and a half after Brendan and Tom met, Brendan left the orphanage; Tom was again petrified with fear and unable to say goodbye. He never saw Brendan again. Eventually, Tom and his brother Dick were sent to live with their father in Montana. Sadly, their mother Jean's problems never improved and she died in 1985.
Tom Vaughn is now a successful banker in Colorado, happily married with a daughter. Tom credits his young friend Brendan with changing his outlook and his life. Now, he wants to find him.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the January 5, 1994 episode.
Results: Solved. Within minutes of the broadcast, Brendan Vaughan called the telecenter from his home in New York. He and Tom were immediately put in touch; finally, Tom had his chance to thank his long-lost friend.
A few weeks later, on March 6, 1994, Tom and Brendan were reunited in Manhattan. Brendan also met Tom's wife and daughter. Brendan also brought his sister, Noreen, who was also at the orphanage with them.