Real Name: Philip Pelletier (last name unknown at time of broadcast)
Case: Lost Friend
Details: Carl Dentai of Budapest, Hungary, was a Nazi death-camp survivor in the last days of World War II. In May 1945, Carl, his wife, Teresa, and their daughter, Brigitta, were among a large group of refugees who fled from their homes in Budapest. Each day, they were within close proximity of the Red Army. After their perilous journey, the Dentais and other refugees ended up in Austria in a town occupied by Americans. As winter came, the Dentais were forced to live in a boxcar.
A few days before Christmas, an American soldier named Philip came to visit the Dentais. He had previously met Brigitta at her American-run school. He asked her parents if he could take her to a Christmas party for the children and they eagerly accepted. Carl was able to find some material that Teresa made a party dress out of for Brigitta. That night, Philip came in a jeep and took her to the party. While there, she remembered feeling very safe and happy for the first time in a while. After it, he brought back presents and wine for the Dentais. Despite the language barrier, they had a great time with him.
Philip continued to return to the refugee area and brought candy and food for the children and families. Sadly, one day, he came to the Dentais and told them that he was being transferred to France. Before leaving, he gave them a photograph of himself and his address. They later emigrated to the United States in 1955, where they attempted to find him with only the aid of his name and the photograph that he had given them ten years earlier. Unfortunately, during their emigration, they lost his address. For years, Carl has placed advertisements in newspapers in order to try and find him, but they have been unsuccessful. Sadly, Teresa passed away recently, but Carl and Brigitta are still looking for Philip, who brought them happiness and friendship in an otherwise bleak time.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the December 21, 1988 episode.
Results: Solved. A viewer named Paulie Doftie of Augusta, Maine, called the telecenter and said that her cousin, Philip Pelletier, was the man that the Dentais were looking for. Now living in Hammond, Indiana, he was soon put in contact with them. On December 28, 1988, he and his wife were reunited with them after a forty-three year separation. The Dentais and the Pelletiers looked at photographs from 1945 which brought back happy memories of the times that they spent together.
In 1990, Carl wrote a book about his experiences of World War II and emigrating to the United States. While all involved in this case have since passed away - Carl in 2000, Philip in 2001, and Brigitta in 2004 - they were able to be reunited prior to their respective passings.
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