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 living in the basement of an apartment complex in the Bronx. They 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 pressured to send Tom and Dick to the orphanage in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx. When it was time for them to say goodbye to her, Tom was paralyzed with fear and unable to speak. Although they were able to see her 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 him at the orphanage; he refused to let him stay quiet and upset. He was there for him in this new and difficult time. In Catechism class, he helped him with answering questions from the nuns. He also gave him 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 him 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 him again. Eventually, he and Dick were sent to live with their father in Montana. Sadly, Jean's problems never improved and she died in 1985.
Tom is now a successful banker in Colorado, happily married with a daughter. He credits Brendan with changing his outlook and his life. Now, he wants to find him.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the January 5, 1994 episode.
Results: Solved. Within minutes of the broadcast, Brendan called the telecenter from his home in New York. He and Tom were immediately put in touch; finally, Tom had his chance to thank him.
A few weeks later, on March 6, 1994, Tom and Brendan were reunited in Manhattan. Brendan also met Tom's wife and daughter. He also brought his sister, Noreen, who was also at the orphanage with them.