Mother missing for 23 years reunites with daughter in Modesto

ABC10's Kurt Rivera shows us the emotional reunion between a mother missing for 23 years, and her daughter. Late News Tonight 1/20/17.

It was a reunion over two decades in the making.

Brandy Chapman had been looking for her mother, 50-year-old Shelly Jennings, for 23 years.

Around 12:30 a.m. Friday in a Modesto hotel room, they embraced as if they would never let go.

“This is the happiest day of my life. This has been 23 years going on and I’ve searched for her and thought about her every single day," said Brandy Chapman.

Chapman drove with friends 23 hours from Oklahoma to be reunited with her mother.

She last saw her mom in Modesto when she was just 12-years-old.

23 years later she never gave up hope she would see her mother Shelly Jennings again.

“She said that the worst part about this was being alone. And I think she’s just happy that, I know she’s happy that finally, there’s somebody, she doesn’t feel alone anymore," said Chapman.

Jennings was recognized Wednesday ironically by a Modesto resident at the Sacramento Greyhound Bus Station. 

She then rode the bus back to Modesto and was greeted by a Modesto Police officer.

Chapman and her mother first reunited over the phone and then in person.

Brandy says her 50-year-old mother has a history of mental illness and is not sure why she left her family.

“She said she did try to look for us. She said, there’s no land lines anymore. She said she had been back to the town we had lived in and went to the grocery store and was told the people don’t live around here anymore," said Chapman.

At a Modesto Park, Chapman and her mother wanted to thank the public for all their help.

The volunteer group Guardian Angels assisted in the search and were at the park to greet the mother and daughter.

“We wanted to be part of this reunion, reuniting with her mother," said Sean Rodgers, West Coast Regional Director of the Guardian Angels.

Overwhelmed and not feeling well, Shelly Jennings spoke little.

She said she felt "happy" and "relieved." 

She said she looks forward to closing this chapter of her life and moving on.

Brandy Chapman plans on taking her mother back with her to Oklahoma Saturday.

Copyright 2016 KXTV


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