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Los Banos woman reunited after 30 years with child she thought was dead
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Los Banos woman reunited after 30 years with child she thought was dead

LOS BANOS, Calif. (FOX26) — Tina Bejarano says she grew up estranged from her family, raised by her step-father and an abusive mother. Last year, her daughter convinced her to do a DNA test. That brought her back to something that happened almost 30 years ago. Bejarano gave birth when she was 17. Her mom at first just told her she wasn't allowed to keep the baby. "The next day, she comes back to tell me, 'The baby died 15 minutes after it was born. It never made it. It was sick." For almost three decades since then, Bejarano and her husband, Eric Gardere, have been celebrating that baby's birthday. "It was a hard time every year." "She would go into major depression," added Gardere. "I would get depressed. I would cry all the time." Last year, ages since giving up hope the baby might somehow be alive, Bejarano says she got an email. "I think we need to talk, it says we're related, and it says you're my mom." Her long-lost kid, Kristin, is 29 years old, living in New Jersey with a wife and baby. And, instead of a daughter, Bejarano now has a son. "I don't care. I don't care if he's in transition. I don't care if he hasn't transitioned. I don't care. That's my kid." We're just glad he's alive."

Kristin was adopted by a loving family five days after he was born, and grew up in Las Vegas. He could have never known how much his biological mom thought about him. "Looking at him just makes me want to cry," said Bejarano. Gardere, is not the biological father. However, he and Bejarano have been married since just a few months after she gave birth to Kristin, and the two have five other children together, so Gardere says he still considers Kristin his son. "We've been communicating with Kristen for a few months now. He calls me Dad, I call him Son, I text him every morning." Kristin, his wife, and their baby are all visiting Bajarano and Gardere in Los Banos November 24th. Bejarano and Gardere are hoping that this story will encourage other families who were separated to not give up on finding their loved ones. DNA testing is also proving critical in cold case criminal investigations. For instance, a court date set for this Wednesday, October 16th, is the first time Nickey Duane Stane will be in court after being arrested for a murder and series of sexual assaults that happened between 1996 and 2002. Now-52-year-old Stane was arrested two weeks ago in Visalia after DNA evidence linked him to those assaults, and to the murder of Fresno State student Debbie Dorian in 1996.

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