With the ease of the internet, most things are literally at our fingertips. Except, sometimes, finding what we are looking for can take a long time, especially when it involves a missing person.
One younger brother always felt like something was missing in his life, which prompted him to search for his older sister who he had never even met. The process of finding her was a lengthy one, but one that proved to be well worth it…
Reminiscing One Summer Night
One summer night, after Steve Inman’s wife and his 2-month-old boy had gone to bed, he started thinking about his family and heritage. Having a rare and quiet moment to himself, Steve pulled out a box of photo albums in his home in Fontana, California.
In one of the albums, he found a picture of himself as a young boy and he laughed at the fact that he and his son have the same round ears. Steve also sorted through old and faded photos of his mother as a young woman in South Korea. Then, he came across a photo of his oldest sister…
His Sister Sally
All Steve felt was sadness as he stared at his sister Sally sitting in a meadow before he was born. She was around 8-months-old at the time and she had a similar look on her face as his own son often has.
Seeing the resemblance between his sister and his first child, made Steve start to cry. Sally had been missing for 37 years and although he never met her, at that moment, it hit him how much a part of him she was. He had an overwhelming feeling that he had let Sally down…
He wondered if she was still alive because how Sally disappeared was never quite clear to him. Steve was told that his father, Steve Sr., was stationed with the Army in Korea when he married his mother, Chum Ku Yi.
When Chum went into labor, they couldn’t get to the base hospital in time, so Sally was born at a house in the village on Chang-mal. The couple raised their daughter for about eight months with the help of a nanny, an older woman they knew…
Moved To American
The family was set to move to America, but the U.S. and Korean authorities would not approve documents stating that Steve. Sr. was Sally’s father. Although they claimed to have fought tooth and nail, the family wound up leaving Sally with her grandmother in Korea while they went back to Steve Sr.’s hometown of Salt Lake City, where they would work out the problem.
Kidnapped By The Nanny
A few years later, Steve’s parents got a call from his grandmother who said that Sally’s nanny had come to visit because she missed the little girl and wanted to take her for a few days. The old woman took Sally but never returned…
Times Were Rough
Back in America, the Inmans (Steve and his family) were having problems. Steve Sr. wasn’t making much money and had been drinking heavily, making going back to Korea to look for Sally very difficult. Chum went on to give birth to another girl, Connie, and then Steve.
Emptiness In Chum’s Heart
But a few months after Steve was born, their father left them. Chum eventually remarried, settling with Steve and Connie in California, while traveling to Korea several times looking for Sally. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find her and the girl’s absence haunted the family…
Sally Was Always A Topic Of Conversation
“Sally should be here,” Steve’s uncle would say at Christmas dinner. Framed pictures of a young Sally sat on top of the television and hung in the hallway of the family’s home in Fullerton, California. In one of the albums, there was a picture of the nanny, and it was the first time Steve and Connie saw evil in her face.
Couldn’t Get Sally Out Of Their Heads And Hearts
This was the woman responsible for kidnapping their sister and ripping her away from their family and they were furious about it. Connie also always felt like something was missing. She described it as being homesick even when she was home. Steve worried about what may have happened to Sally, was she an orphan or even homeless?
Searching For Sally Online
As he went oven dozens of scenarios in his head, Steve realized how much the internet had been flourishing and he typed Sally’s name into google search engines. He thought there was no way he would find her online because the nanny probably changed her name. Still, Steve sent emails to news stations and even wrote to Oprah, but he had no luck.
“Sally Inman (Missing Child)”
He was told a private investigator would cost him $30,000 just to start and he didn’t have that kind of money. But, Steve, 33, at the time, promised himself he wouldn’t give up. Not even knowing where to start, Steve created a Facebook profile for “Sally Inman (missing child).” He posted the only 12 photos of her that he had and wrote that she had been abducted…
Sadly, Steve didn’t receive any leads from the Facebook profile. He became lost in his work and raising Miyka, the baby boy he had with his wife, Donya. Then, the day after New Year’s, while he was relaxing and watching the Food Network, his cell phone rang.
Not recognizing the number, Steve let it go straight to voicemail and once the voicemail finished, he listened. “Steve, I was on Facebook and I noticed you were looking for your sister and I read the whole thing…And I would like you just to give us a call because the girl you’re looking for is actually my mom,” the girl said in what sounded like a Southern accent. But, Steve was suspicious and suspected the call was a prank…
“There’s No Way,” Steve Thought
He called back anyway and the girl said, “Hold on, let me get my mom.” Steve’s heart was beating fast when the woman picked up the phone and said, “Is this Steve? This is Sally.” Steve could barely get any words out but he kept thinking that this had to be a scam.
Was This Really Sally?
“I have those same pictures,” the woman said. Steve, struggling for words suggested, “Maybe we could take a paternity test.” The woman was now insulted saying, “I know who I am…I don’t need a paternity test.” She continued, “Well, my mom would know it’s me…because I have a birthmark on my lip.” At that moment, Steve dropped the phone…
Reunited At Last
After calling his mother and calling Sally right back, Steve realized this was actually Sally. Sally, herself, had always been confused about her history and she wondered who her biological parents were. The fact that her brother just found her 37 years later was a miracle. It was all so surreal and Sally’s husband bought a webcam so she could see her family on Skype. Connie, 36, and Sally, 38, kept staring at each other through the computer screens, studying their faces and mannerisms. They both spoke fast and had the same wit and laugh.
A Happy Ending
Sally felt like she had been robbed of 37 years, missing her siblings graduations, weddings, and their children’s births. All of the siblings tried to piece together what happened in South Korea in 1974 when the mixed-race children of American soldiers and Korean women were stigmatized. While questions still lingered, they didn’t let that get in the way and Steve, Connie, and their mother flew out North Carolina the next week.