A mother and son who hadn’t seen in each other in more than 30 years finally got a chance to reunite in San Diego. NBC 7's Candice Nguyen has been following this story from the start, and was there for the emotional reunion. The man was abducted as a toddler and had been living in Mexico.
A mother and son who hadn’t seen in each other in more than 30 years finally got a chance to reunite in San Diego Saturday morning.
NBC 7 San Diego was the first station to report on the incredible story of David Amaya, a 37-year-old man who was abducted by his father as a toddler and taken away to live in Mexico. All of these years, he had no idea his mother, Kathy Amaya, who lives in Wisconsin, had been looking for him.
On Oct. 30, David tried crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego without documents. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents detained him for two days with a group of undocumented immigrants.
David insisted he was a U.S. citizen, and agents looked deeper into his case. That’s when officials tracked down a copy of David’s birth certificate showing that he was born in Chicago, Ill., in 1976.
Agents tracked down David’s mother and from there, the pair connected for the first time in more than three decades.
Saturday’s reunion at the San Diego International Airport was overwhelming. Kathy’s flight from Wisconsin laded at 11:20 a.m., and she was met by a slew of media.
Prior to the seeing his mother, David ate breakfast and said a prayer. He said he barely slept the night before bracing for the moment.
Accompanied by a translator, David said in Spanish that he was anxious and wasn’t sure what he would say to his mother once he saw her.
The two speak different languages, but when it came time to meet face-to-face, they understood one another perfectly.
“Te quiero. Te quiero, Mami,” he said to his mother.
“I love you too,” said Kathy.
Since entering the U.S., David has been staying at Iglesia de Cristo Ministerios Llamada Final Inc. de San Diego, based in Point Loma.
On Saturday, NBC 7 spoke with David and his mother at the ministry where he is staying.
Kathy said she was happy to see her son, but admitted some of the emotions are bittersweet, especially when she thinks of all the important moments of her son’s life that she’s missed.
“He's all grown up and I've never seen his graduation, his first day of school,” she lamented.
In Spanish, David said he felt many emotions, but all he wanted to do was embrace his mother. He said he was excited to eventually meet his four siblings, too.
Kathy plans to take David back to Wisconsin with her to meet his siblings and extended family.
“He has a grandmother. He has an aunt and uncle; lots and lots of cousins,” she said.
But for now, in San Diego, Kathy is grateful to have her son all to herself.
“I’m all happy and I don’t want to let him go,” she said.
David and his mom are excited to explore San Diego together this weekend. It's their first time visiting the city.
On Tuesday, they'll fly together to Kathy's home in Wisconsin, where David will spend the holidays with his family.