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Real Names: Unknown
Case: Lost Family
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Date: May 15, 1964

Monica libao5 earlobe

Monica's ear lobe

Case[]

Details: Thirty-seven-year-old Monica Susie Libao Wolfe is searching for her birth family. She fears that the people who raised her may have abducted her as an infant. She was reportedly born in Chicago, Illinois, on May 15, 1964, to fifty-eight-year-old retired Navy veteran Pablo Unido Libao and his forty-one-year-old wife, Burma Clyde McCall Libao. Monica’s two half-sisters were never around, as they had grown and moved away.
As a child, Monica and her parents moved between roughly twenty-five states, including Illinois, California, Washington, Ohio, and Texas. She remembers they often moved to “out-of-the-way” places. There were a total of twenty-eight moves in fifteen years, or nearly one every six months. It was a routine she had become all too familiar with. She remembers coming home from school and seeing boxes everywhere; she knew it was time to go again.
As a child, Monica did not question her family’s nomadic lifestyle or why she was always kept home from school on class picture days. She simply learned to fend for herself, but it was not easy. She would get angry because she would make friends in one place and then have to move away from them.
Then, at age sixteen, Monica’s life was turned upside down. Burma had become ill, and Monica had to transfer her medical papers to the hospital she was in. Monica decided to read through the papers. She discovered something that would change her life forever: Burma had a total hysterectomy in 1945, nearly twenty years before Monica was born. She realized there was no way she could be Burma’s biological child.
Imagine finding out your mother had a hysterectomy nearly two decades before you were born. That she couldn’t possibly have been your mother, and for sixteen years, you had been lied to. If Burma wasn’t Monica’s mother, then who was? The search for that answer has consumed Monica’s life, leading her into an incredibly tangled web of lies, half-truths, and innuendos. What makes this story even more disturbing, however, is where it all may lead: to an unthinkable crime.
After learning about Burma’s hysterectomy, Monica asked her who her real mother was. Burma became angry, at first insisting that she was her real mother. But she eventually told Monica that her birth mother was a family member – her half-sister. She said that Monica’s half-sister was unable to take care of her, so they took her in. Monica says that was probably the worst shock of her life. It was true that Monica’s half-sister was much older – nineteen years, in fact – but could she really be her mother?
Monica went to her half-sister and asked her if she was her birth mother. She said she was not. She also said that Burma did not want to face the truth. Monica asked her what the truth was. She said that Monica’s birth mother sold her for a bus ticket to New York. She also said that Monica’s birth mother was “trash” and “no good” and that she did not need to know her anyway. Had Monica really been sold for the price of a bus ticket? Or was this simply another bizarre story about her birth mother?
Monica did not know who to trust or believe. Again, she hounded her parents to tell her the truth. But the more she asked, the more they would not tell her anything. At one point, they told her she was adopted. But she started wondering if something bad had happened. She became convinced that they had something to hide. She began snooping around the house in search of any links to her past. And soon, she ran across a sturdy metal box. Inside was the document she hoped to find: her birth certificate.
But the details seemed sketchy. There was no hospital, address, or doctor listed. And the document had not been filed until 1971, when Monica was seven years old. She had only one place to turn for help: one of her half-sisters. Her half-sister said that Pablo and Burma had paid a lawyer $2,000 to make a false birth certificate. Monica hired a private investigator, who determined that the information on her birth certificate had been altered.
Monica later learned that in 1970, when she was six, Pablo and Burma had tried to enroll in her elementary school in Texas. To get her successfully enrolled, they needed to file her birth certificate with the county. She believes this was when they obtained the false certificate for her.
Was Monica’s whole life a fraud? It now made sense why, growing up, she never had her own social security number but used Pablo’s instead (she discovered this in 1983). Chicago is listed as Monica’s place of birth. In 1990, at age twenty-six, she contacted Illinois Judge Jeanne Scott in hopes of finding an adoption record. Judge Scott answered her in a letter, saying that she had searched all of the records available but could not find anything from 1962 through 1964.
Chicago had turned into another dead end. Sadly, it seemed like a bad soap opera, with Monica thrust into the lead role. For the next decade, she was haunted by the strange and conflicting stories surrounding her past. Still, she managed to get on with her life. She married and had a daughter of her own.
During a rare family get-together, Monica decided to try one last time to find out the truth. She confronted Burma, who became very angry with her and her half-sister. According to Monica, her half-sister looked at Burma and suddenly became irate. She began ranting about how, nearly four decades earlier, Burma had hidden a tiny baby from the police. She also said that her parents made her lie to the police.
Monica was stunned. In an instant, the past came flooding back. She remembered Pablo and Burma saying “disturbing things” during their arguments, like “I can't believe I allowed you to do it,” “she deserves to know the truth,” and “it wasn't a nice thing to do.” But it was during one particularly vicious fight in the fall of 1980 that she heard things that indicated her parents had done something criminal. She heard Pablo talk about stashing a cardboard box in a bar. He also mentioned roadblocks and said, “We have to tell the truth.”
A picture began to emerge that was both ugly and sinister. Based on what her half-sister had said, Monica came to believe that Burma had probably kidnapped her. She started thinking, had Pablo and Burma actually taken her from someone? To this day, that question and others remain unanswered. Was Monica abducted as an infant – an appalling crime that forced Pablo and Burma to stay one step ahead of the law? Was she sold by a desperate young girl for the price of a bus ticket? Or is Monica’s half-sister not her sister at all but her birth mother?
Monica will never get answers from Pablo and Burma, as they both have since died – Pablo in 1983 and Burma in 1998. Since then, Monica has spent most of her free time trying to find her birth family. She has accessed Pablo’s Navy records and her and Burma’s medical files. She has searched through newspaper articles about infant abductions during the 1960s but has come up with no solid leads.
Monica says that she would be willing to go through anything, such as a DNA test, to discover the truth behind her past. If her half-sister agreed to be tested, it would answer at least one of these puzzling questions. However, according to relatives, she recently left her husband of twenty-five years and simply disappeared.
On another sad note, Monica’s husband passed away in 1998; he was only thirty-one. That tragic loss has only deepened her resolve to find her birth family. She says she is without an identity, but she will not give up and will continue searching until she finds answers.
Monica was born with only half an earlobe on her left ear, a clue that may help unravel this mystery. As a child, she had light brown hair, soft hazel eyes, aquiline features, and ivory skin. And if she was indeed kidnapped, she believes it happened in the Miami, Florida, area in 1963 or 1964.
Extra Notes:

  • This case first aired on the June 21, 2002 episode.
  • It has similarities to The Family of Dolores Valadez.
  • Some sources state Monica was missing half an earlobe on her right ear.

Results: Unsolved - Monica wrote to the Veterans Administration in hopes of finding out where Pablo and Burma lived around the time of her birth. She asked for their addresses between 1963 and 1965. Strangely, when she received a reply, the addresses for those years were blacked out. All the addresses for the years before and after were not blacked out. She believes that they withheld this information because they made a “big mistake” and did not want to face a lawsuit from her.
Monica later had her DNA compared to that of her half-sisters and other relatives. Those tests confirmed that she was not related to the Libao family. She also had her DNA compared to that of the families of several missing children from the 1960s, including Elizabeth Ann Gill, who was last seen on the afternoon of June 13, 1965, in her front yard in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. However, the DNA tests determined that she was not any of those children.
In July 2010, Monica submitted her DNA to the Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS), the national DNA database. In 2015, her DNA was submitted to several ancestry websites, including AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and Family Tree DNA. She has been able to locate several biological cousins. However, they are distant relatives who have no memory of her.
For several years, genetic genealogist CeCe Moore has been trying to find Monica’s birth family using genetic genealogy. In 2022, CeCe stated that they had made some progress in the case. However, many of the people involved are now deceased, so it has been difficult to solve.
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