Real Name: Unrevealed
Case: Lost Family
Date: September 25, 1935
Location: Los Angeles, California
Details: Fifty-six-year-old Falls Church, Virginia resident Charles Stubin is searching for his birth family. He was abandoned in a car in September 1935, more than fifty years earlier; however, he did not know this for decades. He grew up as an only child in Los Angeles, and even then he felt out of place with his family. He had several clues throughout his childhood that he may have been adopted. When he was a teenager, he found a photo of his parents dated September 1935 that showed his mother was not pregnant, even though he was born on the 17th of that month. He did not believe that she would have been able to go on vacation just days after giving birth.
Charles, however, kept his suspicions to himself until he was applying for college scholarships. He contacted the State Department of Public Health asking for his birth certificate. When he received it, he was surprised to find it largely incomplete; no hospital was listed, nor was there a city of birth or attending doctor. His mother did not want to talk about his suspicions, so he decided to drop it for several years. He went to college, served in the Marine Corps, and married in 1962. He started his own family as well. However, the questions about his past continued to nag him. In 1989, his mother passed away; he then decided that he would start searching for the truth.
Finally, in January 1991, a family friend revealed that Charles was adopted. He visited the Children's Home Society in Los Angeles, which had handled his adoption in 1935. In the file was an monogrammed handkerchief that had been left with him when he was found. He learned that around 8:30pm on September 25, 1935, in Royal Heights, a woman named Gladys Rosswurm went out to move her car from the street to the driveway when she found him in the backseat. She could tell that he was just a few days old. He had been wrapped in a blue blanket with a pile of clothes beside him. Tucked in the blanket was the handkerchief, with a purple monogrammed "W" on it. Gladys contacted the police; he soon became a local celebrity, but despite the press, his mother never came forward.
Charles was temporarily placed with the Children's Home Society. Six weeks later on November 5, he was adopted by Edith and Lawrence Stillwell, who had a five-year-old daughter named Janet. According to her, just two days after the adoption, Edith took him to a rabbi to determine if he was Jewish. The rabbi claimed that he was; the Stillwells then gave him back to the Children's Home Society. He was then adopted by the Stubins, a Jewish couple.
Charles now knew the story of his abandonment and adoption, but he did not know who his birth family was or why he was abandoned. His only clue to his birth family and identity was the handkerchief found with him. He began searching through Los Angeles birth records from September 1935; he believed that his last name started with "W" based on the handkerchief. He placed several ads in the Los Angeles Times, and two different people came forward with the same information.
Charles believes that his birth father was Jewish but his birth mother was not. He learned that there was a prominent Jewish businessman in Los Angeles during the 1930s who had several girlfriends. He believes that he was the man's illegitimate child, and that his mother was pressured into abandoning him. He is now hoping to find his birth parents, if they are still alive. He believes that his father's last name was either Wiseman, White, Weston, or Wiener.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the December 16, 1992 episode.
The Children's Home Society was also mentioned in The Mother of Barbara Smith and Barbara Ratner.
Results: Solved. Dr. Stephen Baskin watched the broadcast on Lifetime and suspected that he was Charles' half-brother. DNA testing confirmed their relationship and they were reunited. Charles was saddened to learn that his mother, Rose Wasserman, had passed away. He also learned that a photo was found in her scrapbook that may be of his father. However, he has never been able to find him, who is now assumed to be deceased.
Janet Stillwell Danuser passed away in 2008.