Real Names: Unrevealed
Case: Lost Parents
Date: December 24, 1932
Location: New York City, New York
Details: Alexandra Paraskevas Stantzos is searching for her birth parents. Alexandra grew up in Brooklyn during the 1930s. Although she had no brothers and sisters, she was surrounded by a large and loving Greek family. When she was twenty-one, she became engaged to John Stantzos. Her parents planned a full-scale Greek Orthodox wedding for the following June. Just a month before the wedding, Alexandra's mother delivered the shocking news that she was adopted. She felt hurt and betrayed by her family because she had been brought up to tell the truth. She was also afraid that John would not marry her because he wouldn't know her background.
Fortunately, this did not matter to John; he told her that he loved her for who she was. The two were married on June 5, 1955. Eventually, they became the parents of three sons: James, Bill, and Nick. Only after Alexandra's first grandchild was born and both of her parents had passed away that she began to search for her roots.
Alexandra spent three long years going through New York City birth records. Finally, with help from the Children's Aid Society, she discovered the poignant truth about her past. It was December of 1932, the height of the Great Depression. In New York City, thousands stood in line in government soup kitchens. Tragically, many were unable to care for their own children. Some parents were so poor that they felt forced to leave their children on the doorsteps of strangers, hoping to give them a better life.
On Christmas Eve of 1932, thirteen-year-old Ada Neil was returning home from church. On the doorstep of her building on East 27th Street, she was amazed to find a baby girl; it was Alexandra. Ada was just a child herself and hardly knew what to do. She scanned the streets for the infant's parents, to no avail. Finally, she went inside to show the baby to her father, the superintendent of the apartment building. Charles Neil notified the authorities. For several hours, while they waited for the police, the Neil family cared for Alexandra.
A police officer finally arrived around Midnight just as Christmas Day began. The policeman took Alexandra to the New York City Foundling Hospital. Adoption records from the hospital show that somebody along the way named the baby "Helen Anderson". The identity of that person and where the name came from remains a mystery.
Nearly fifty years later, Alexandra returned to the neighborhood where she had been found. She contacted every church in the area, hoping baptismal records would list a baby named Helen Anderson. Sadly, they did not. Alexandra was left with only one clue to her past: the name of the girl who rescued her. Alexandra wants to find Ada Neil; she believes that Ada may have known her birth parents or at least has some clues surrounding her past. At the very least, she would like to thank her for finding her all of those years ago.
Ada Neil lived at 156 East 27th Street in Manhattan and was born around 1919. Her father's name was Charles and he was the superintendent of the apartment building. Unfortunately, Alexandra has virtually no information about her birth parents.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the December 23, 1992 episode.
Results: Unsolved. Sadly, Alexandra passed away on September 25, 1994; it is not known if she ever received any new information on the case.