Real Names: Erick, Glynda, and Keath Nickerson
Case: Lost Siblings
Location: Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania
Date: September 1961
Details: Brenda Merrill Miller of Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania is searching for her siblings. On an afternoon in September 1961, her twice-divorced mother, Betty Nickerson, moved her and her five siblings, Glynda, Keath, Butch, Linda, and Erick, to a remote farmhouse outside of Lawrenceville. Betty recently purchased a restaurant in town and decided to stay there. She told Brenda that she would have to quit school and raise her siblings, otherwise they would be taken away.
At the age of just sixteen, Brenda became the mother to Glynda, Keath, Butch, Linda, and Erick. They ranged in age from two to nine; sadly, Butch was deaf. Other than Brenda, none of them had been to school. Despite the fact that her business was thriving, Betty never visited them. Brenda, however, tried to make the best of a bad situation. Her boyfriend occasionally brought them food from Betty's restaurant. She supplemented their meals with vegetables from the garden.
Along with making food, Brenda did the dishes, washed her siblings and their clothes, and did other things a normal mother would do. Then, as winter came, she was forced to hunt small game for food. Memories of her old life began to haunt her. She wished that she could go out and have fun with her friends. However, she found comfort with her siblings.
In early spring 1962, the children's fuel ran out. Brenda decided to cut down their tire swing, cut it up, and put the pieces in the old wood stove. She recalled someone telling her that old tires would give off good heat. However, the second floor became engulfed in flames and was completely destroyed. Yet this was a blessing in disguise for Brenda. Reluctantly, Betty finally took her children in; her boyfriend believed that the three youngest ones were actually Brenda's.
A few weeks later, Brenda and her boyfriend married and moved to Corning, New York, twenty miles away. They decided to take Erick with them. Betty sent Linda to live with a family across the street. Butch was enrolled in a special school for the deaf. Glynda and Keath were sent to live with an acquaintance of Betty's.
A week later, Brenda and her husband took Erick to visit Glynda and Keath; she was horrified by their living conditions. The room was dirty and infested with cockroaches; they slept on a blanket on the floor. Brenda immediately took them to Betty and her boyfriend finally learned that they all were actually hers. Betty notified the child welfare department; Glynda and Keath were then put into foster care. Brenda never saw them again. A week later, she was forced to turn Erick over to foster care as well. She never saw him again either. Two years later, his foster home was torn down.
Thirty years later, Brenda was reunited with Linda and Butch. However, Erick, Glynda, and Keath are still missing. She hopes to make peace with Betty if they can as well.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the December 9, 1992 episode. For unknown reasons, Glynda was not mentioned in the update, although it can be presumed that she was also found.
Results: Solved. One hour after the broadcast, a man named Keith Robinson of Hornell, New York called the telecenter and identified himself as "Keath Nickerson". That night, he and Brenda spoke on the phone. He told her that he had the same photograph of himself that was shown during the broadcast and described it perfectly. At that point, she knew that he was her missing brother.
On December 19, 1992, Keith and his family traveled to Montour Falls, New York and was reunited with Brenda, Linda, and Butch. However, the reunion was bittersweet because Erick was still missing.
Five weeks after the update was filmed, Erick was also found. His name is now Richard Moore and he lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with his wife and two children. In February 1993, he was reunited with Brenda and Linda after more than thirty years of separation. Brenda's long search to find her siblings was finally over.