Facebook reunites mother, son 20 years later

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - The year was 1991. George Bush Sr. was the president. The first Gulf War was just ending, and Ninja Turtles were all the talk.

That's the last time a mother saw her son.

With the help of technology never heard of back then, the separated duo has finally been reunited - 20 years later.

"This is Rusty with his little brother looking at his cake. We had the ninja cake thing," said mother Brenda Williams.

That was July 14, 1991 - a date etched in Williams' mind. It was her son Rusty's 10th birthday, but that's not the only reason.

"I took him back to his father's home that afternoon, and that was the last time I seen him," said Williams.

Williams and her husband were separated but had joint custody of their son. She would get him on the weekends, but that next weekend never came.

"I walked into an empty trailer with nothing and nobody. I had no idea they had moved or left," said Williams.

The days turned into years as the mother unsuccessfully tried to find her little boy. Every July 14 turned into a reminder of a harsh reality that forced the mother to remember her son through stacks of pictures.

"I've held on to these pictures and looked over them so many different times. It's the only connection I've had with him for 20 years," said Williams.

But fast forward to the digital age where letters can be sent with a simple click of the mouse and social media sites can connect just about anyone. That's how it all started, with Rusty on his computer at home in Arlington, TX.

"One person on her list that was on Facebook, and I sent her a message asking if she knew how to get ahold of them," said Russell "Rusty" Williams.

The letter stated, "Hi my name is Russell Williams, and I am looking for Susan McAlister or Brenda Renea Chevalier, and I think I saw you on her MySpace. The reason I am looking for her is Brenda is my mom and I haven't seen her in 20 years because my dad and I moved to West Texas. If you can help, I would really appreciate it. If this is the wrong person I'm sorry."

That person turned out to be a family friend. A long 19 years, 11 months and 8 days later, Rusty spoke to his mom for the first time since his 10th birthday.

"I was relieved.  Almost like a piece of me was missing was like, back intact, and it was definitely amazing," said Rusty.

Next month will mark exactly 20 years since mother and son last saw each other. Rusty is now 29, engaged and a future history teacher. His mom is now living in Denham Springs, and she's not the only one waiting to see him.

"I've never met him. My mom was actually pregnant with me at the time," said Heather Waldroup, Rusty's half-sister.

A half-sister, half-brother who named his son after Rusty, nieces and nephews, but most importantly, a mother who's waited more than her fair share wants nothing more than to hug her "little boy."

"Especially when he says, 'Momma, I love you,' it's the greatest feeling in the world. For 20 years, I've missed those words," said Williams.

Soon, she can tell him face-to-face.

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