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April 9, 2024 38 mins

In our season finale, Steve’s sisters roadtrip to his hometown to see him. Their stay in Cherryville and a surprise guest ends up unraveling the goodwill between Steve’s new relatives and his longstanding ones. Todd grapples with his involvement with the family and realizes that decades of John Doe cases haven't necessarily equipped him to handle the living.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Previously on Hello John Doe.

Speaker 2 (00:06):
I would like to know who my dad is. I
found out I potentially had another sister through the Brandenburg side,
but they were all connected to the Brandenburg except me.

Speaker 3 (00:16):
Philip, Steedhm and Patterson. You should have had your butt
here because your sisters love you. He wants those answers.
We're going to do everything we can and as a
family to help him get those answers.

Speaker 2 (00:31):
At this point, Steve still hadn't met Sandy, his biological mom,
and he had no plans to, but he had met
plenty of people related to Sandy. In our last chapter,
the Brandenburg sisters wanted to accept him into their fold,
even though DNA test showed they didn't share the same father.
Now that Brandyburger's ruled out, Steve really wanted an answer

to what man helped make him him. You want to
find your father, right, or at least I know who
he is, know who he is, at least find out. Yeah,
that's one of my biggest things. I needed to ask
an expert, So I call Carol Silecki, who's been with
the Dough Network for years. She got involved after her

ex husband disappeared in nineteen eighty nine. He was missing
almost twenty years before he matched with a John Doe
who had drowned what's snorkeling in Florida. Carol has always
loved genealogy and ancestry, but she also had a stepfather
who was adopted as a baby and a.

Speaker 4 (01:30):
Child, I was more interested in learning about his biological
family than he was.

Speaker 2 (01:34):
For the last few decades, she's helped adoptees find their
biological families.

Speaker 4 (01:39):
I work in retail jewelry sales. I make my money
and then I come home and this is my hobby.

Speaker 2 (01:47):
I asked Carol to help me build out Stay's family
tree on ancestry dot Com.

Speaker 4 (01:54):
So like the strength of the DNA matches, if you
have close matches and you're able to identify who these
people are and to build out their family trees, you
could solve this pretty quickly. What I mean by the
strength of the DNA matches, the amount of DNA that
two people share is measured in a unit called centim organs.

Speaker 2 (02:19):
In general, the higher the cine morgan count, the closer
the genetic link. This step can get real complicated, but
basically you want to find where those numbers are The highest.
So in Stave's case, Carol found a woman who shared
five hundred fifty six cinem organs of DNA with him.

Speaker 4 (02:36):
So the next thing I do is look at the
matches and luis color five fifty six. We look at
the matches that Stephen in five fifty six have in common,
and I try to look for matches that have good
sized public family trees that you can look at and analyze,
and I try to see how people are interconnected. And

what you want to do is find their most recent
common ancestor. We want to try to find maybe a
grandparent or great grandparent.

Speaker 2 (03:06):
Then Carroll built private, unsearchable trees, plotting out DNA matches
to see how people connect. Basically, that's how she pinpointed
their most recent common ancestor, and I was.

Speaker 4 (03:17):
Able to determine that five point fifty six is his
first cousin once removed, so she is Stephen's father's first cousin.
So she and Stephen's birth father share a set of grandparents.
Now we need to figure out who the other set
of grandparents is.

Speaker 2 (03:37):
Based on this meticulous matching process, Carol identified State's paternal grandparents.
They settle in Nevada, and they had one son.

Speaker 4 (03:49):
In a nutshell, we have the only son of a
married couple who come from two different areas of the country,
and we have close and clear DNA connects to both
sides of this couple's families. So that's what leads me
to believe that Daniel is his birth father.

Speaker 2 (04:07):
After her exhaustive search, Carol had a name, Daniel Polk.
It felt like we'd found him, but I wanted to
run His name passed Sandy, so I called her up
and asked, did the name Polk sound familiar? And she
confirmed that yes, she did remember a Dan Polk who
she knew in Charlotte. She told me Dan was a

car salesman, a very slick person. Steve would have been
conceived around the summer of nineteen seventy three. Sandy tell
me she didn't date him per se, but she did
remember him. So he did a bit more digging on
Daniel Polk. He served in the Navy in Vietnam and
then he drilled water wells. He also volunteered with the
fire department in Lubock, Texas. I also found out that

in nineteen seventy nine he married a woman named Ronalda
about five years after Steve was born, and there was
something else he died.

Speaker 4 (05:00):
I had in nineteen eighty Daniel would have been a
newly win pretty much bring tumors or what it looks like, Yeah,
bring tumor.

Speaker 5 (05:09):
Yeah, very sad.

Speaker 2 (05:12):
He was just thirty three and living in Texas when
he died. He was buried at a cemetery in New Mexico.
After all this time, I'd be able to tell Stavis
father's name, but he'd never be able to ask him
the questions he had, or to visit with him or
see if they both sit in the same way or
talk similarly. This isn't the first time Carol's digging help

someone find the parent they were looking for, only to
find that they were gone. It was too late.

Speaker 4 (05:41):
I know firsthand what it's like to live without answers
for many, many years, And you know, it's just important
for people to know their origins.

Speaker 5 (05:51):
You know, it just.

Speaker 4 (05:52):
Gives people peace of mind, regardless of what the answers are.
Just to have the answers and to know the truth
is what gives people peace of mind.

Speaker 2 (06:00):
After Carol filled me in, I needed to tell Steve.
I called Stephen Janette in June of twenty twenty three,
we have been into ancestry and we have you know,
I did find Polk. Polk was a name.

Speaker 6 (06:12):
The closest relative to you that I found in ancerstory
was a Polk. Got a hold of Handy and I said,
do you remember any Pokes?

Speaker 2 (06:19):
And she did. I do believe it. Daniel James Polk.
Where is he from?

Speaker 4 (06:25):
Was he from North Carolina?

Speaker 6 (06:26):
Yes, in the same area. She said that pretty Charlotte
is in Charlotte and he.

Speaker 2 (06:33):
Has passed away. He passed away in nineteen eighty. Oh wow.

Speaker 6 (06:37):
Now, as of right now, unless something changes my mind,
I believe that your last name would be Polk. And
you have family there that we were stolen from too.
They probably don't even know you exist.

Speaker 2 (06:50):
Steve didn't say much on the phone that day. I
can see why I told him his father was Daniel
Polk at the end of a long phone call. The
name of his father could only do so much in
that moment. It didn't make him feel any more wanting.

I've thought about this interactional lot. Like I said before,
I'd been running ahead of Steve opening doors for him
that he wasn't ready for. I wanted so desperately to
help him move forward. I'd been pushing and maybe I'd
gone too far this time. My name is Todd Matthews,
and this is hello John Doe, A sleuth, a family,

and a serial killer. The story of a family torn
apart by tragedy and my quest to bring them back together.
Chapter ten, The Reunion. Okay, I am recording now. We
are about how far out, sixty four miles out from

our hotel, and we won't see Steve until later tonight
after he gets off work. A few weeks earlier, in
August of twenty twenty three, the Brandenburg sisters had all
gotten together for their own reunion at Andrew's place in Tennessee.
You remember Andrea the Firecracker didn't know her birth family
till her fifties. She had invited her sister, Michelle, the

dog killer owner from Michigan, and her other sister, Amy,
the Virginia school bus driver, and that invited Steve.

Speaker 5 (08:26):
They was supposed to be a mini family reunion, but
he didn't come.

Speaker 2 (08:31):
Steve was a no show, but all of them were
so excited to welcome him into their circle, so the
three of.

Speaker 5 (08:37):
Us decided racing in there at her tables at Andrea's
house that we were going to go to him.

Speaker 2 (08:43):
It could be a little road trip, and they invited
me to come along again. This second reunion came together
real fast, late summer. In a matter of days, Andrew
and I were talking about driving there in the same
car from Tennessee to Steve's hometown, Cherville, North Carolina. Amy
and her husband Mike were going to meet us there.
They didn't want to give Steve a chance to back

out or make an excuse, so they forged ahead.

Speaker 5 (09:07):
He didn't know we were coming. We knew if we
told him, he probably would have said he had to
work or something. We kind of just sprung in on him.

Speaker 2 (09:17):
I get where Amy's coming from. She and her brother
had an amazing connection when they first met, but after
that he seemed distant. Amy wanted to continue spending time
with her new found family, but it's hard to contain
surprises at this scale. Mary, Steve's adoptive mom, soon found
out that the sisters were coming to Cherryville to see Steve,
and she didn't think he'd appreciate them just dropping in,

so she told him. That's the first time things got tense.
She started texting me tell them not to come. He
is very upset, but when I texted Steve he said
he was cool with it as long as we met
at the hotel, not at his place. He would be
the first of many contradictions that weekend. That summer afternoon,

Steve met us at the Quality Inn. It was an
enthusiastic reunion. He seemed genuinely happy to see his sisters
and vice versa. They couldn't wait to tell him about
their plan. Here's Andrew the hisstory was adopted to well,
we're good.

Speaker 3 (10:15):
To Our original plan was Toy was gonna message you
and say, hey, I just came in to Charlotte. I'm
gonna be in you know, he's Mountain or Shelby. You know,
I want to see you. Can you come over to
the hotel and hang out here?

Speaker 7 (10:27):
And then we were surprised and that was our original plan.

Speaker 5 (10:30):
It's just been over two years.

Speaker 8 (10:32):
Yeah, that's one thing my mong little teaching secret for me.
I promise you that I can't.

Speaker 4 (10:40):
There were nothing.

Speaker 2 (10:42):
She asked me if I was working sad and I
said no.

Speaker 4 (10:44):
I said what you need?

Speaker 9 (10:45):
She said, I mean stuff done around the house?

Speaker 10 (10:48):
What you done?

Speaker 1 (10:50):

Speaker 7 (10:50):
She said, I can't.

Speaker 10 (10:55):

Speaker 8 (10:55):
The next text said was five minutes later. She said,
you know I keep everybody.

Speaker 2 (10:59):
I'm kind and glad. She told us it wouldn't be
too much of the shop. We wanted to surprise you,
but we didn't want it to blindside you, but it
would be another surprise that we'd end up unrappling some
of the goodwill between Steve's new sisters and his mom
and girlfriend. Steve, his sisters, and I gathered at the
hotel not too far from his house. The hotel wasn't fancy.

It was the kind where each room opens up into
the parking lot. We all got separate rooms, but we
treated andreas like homebase. So that's where we were catching
up and getting settled. Everyone seemed to ease. It felt
like whatever tension had happened before we got there was resolved.

About an hour after we all gathered, his sisters told
Steve there was more. It's a little hard to hear,
but here's Andrea.

Speaker 3 (11:53):
Okay, you have another surprise.

Speaker 5 (11:55):
It's your choice.

Speaker 7 (11:58):
Sanity came with you.

Speaker 8 (12:00):
She's in the race.

Speaker 3 (12:02):
If you don't want to see her, that's fine with
all of us.

Speaker 2 (12:06):
Steve's mother, who gave him up for adoption fifty years ago,
who had only messaged on Facebook, was suddenly a room away.
Sandy had tagged along an Amy in MIT's car. Now
she was sitting in her own hotel room at the
same quality inn. I couldn't believe we had arrived at
this point. A mother and son torn apart by Floyd

might be reunited today if Steve would agree to see her.
We're here with you, Stephen.

Speaker 8 (12:36):
I think you will open your cart. Both of you need.

Speaker 2 (12:39):
We didn't want Jerry Springery, but both of you need
because you weren't going to.

Speaker 8 (12:45):
Go and there's no hold of faults. If you want
to yell out of yell, yell.

Speaker 2 (12:49):
At her, he said, I ain't gonna yell at her.

Speaker 8 (12:54):
We're just saying, you do what you want.

Speaker 3 (12:57):
If this last three years been through fucking rough on it,
so don't feel like you're strained. You can't ask or anything,
because everything is open right now for all of us,
and you don't have to worry about it.

Speaker 11 (13:09):
We got you.

Speaker 2 (13:12):
Are you okay with that?

Speaker 3 (13:13):
If you're not, tell us.

Speaker 2 (13:15):
Be honest with us, he said, it's fine. Steve seemed
really laid back in this moment. He was sitting having
a drink, seemingly going along with the flow.

Speaker 3 (13:26):
I'm not serious. I want to help you so you
could process this whole thing.

Speaker 5 (13:35):
She understood before we went that if he didn't want
to see her, we weren't going to force her on him,
you know, So she came prepared to stay in the
hotel room by herself, without seeing him.

Speaker 2 (13:48):
Steve got to choose, you can hear us ask him,
But his choice is made in the matter of a
few minutes, with Sandy sitting in the other room. If
he had known this was the weekend he'd meet Sandy,
his girlfriend or his mom would have been by his sight,
but that day he didn't have either of them to
lean up. I'll let Amy tell you what happened next.

Speaker 5 (14:09):
Before we brought her in, we asked Steven if he
wanted to see her, and he said yes. So we
took Sandy and she was in the hotel room, and
then we asked and he said, sure, bring her over.

Speaker 11 (14:23):
I said, just rip the band it.

Speaker 5 (14:25):
Off and brought her in the room. And some people
were mad at me because I did it that way.

Speaker 2 (14:34):
The thinking was that Sandy wouldn't live forever. She was
already in her seventies, and that Steve had real questions
about his background that only she might be able to answer.
I figured if we all got behind him and supported him,
maybe this was the right time to meet Sandy. They
willed Sandy into Andrea's room, where we were all gathered.

She looked a little nervous and a little tired, like
she had been traveling all day and it had been
hard on her. There were a lot of us in
that hotel room and only a few chairs and two
big beds. I watched the two. I was delighted to
reunite mother and son. I'd been the go between for
so long, and here they were finally face to face

after all this time. They didn't look too much alike,
but they did share the same temperament, A little reserved,
but polite.

Speaker 5 (15:27):
They just said hello. There wasn't no big, happy like
happy reunion hung each other.

Speaker 2 (15:36):
Based on all the time that I'd spent with both
Steve and Sandy separately, I knew Steve had hesitations about
meeting her, and I knew Sandy was reluctant to push
too much. For the rest of the afternoon, we all
sat in the hotel room together. Steve said, with Sandy
knee to knee, him in a hotel chair, and her
and her wheelchair. The rest of us hung around the room.

Some went in and out to smoke cigarettes, some poor drinks.
Everyone cracked jokes and exchanged stories about the car ride there.
I don't know all of what Sandy and Steve talked
about in that corner. We tried to give him some space,
to be fair, though there wasn't much space in that room,
no real quiet for a private conversation. But every time
I glanced over, it felt like they were getting along.

I saw Steve show Sandy photos of his kids, and
she reciprocated. At first, they didn't talk about anything too deep,
but as the afternoon went on, Steve dug a bit deeper.
You can hear Steve here. He's pretty faint.

Speaker 8 (16:39):
Were you scared of him?

Speaker 2 (16:41):
Steve asked if she was scared of Floyd, the man
who tore them apart.

Speaker 7 (16:45):
Terrafied, who had a knife with him all the time,
a knife under the pillow, knife and guns. One time,
the girls a lot in the thing and he was
in the kitchen. He caught us for us somewhere When
you said, if any of you ever tried to believe
I'm gonna skin you just like this squirrel.

Speaker 2 (17:05):
We've heard this story before, how Floyd threatened to skin
Sandy and her girls like squirrels. But this was the
first time that Steve had hurt. It was he starting
to say that Sandy was a victim too.

Speaker 7 (17:17):
I was arrested for raining at dollars seventy eight check
at seven eleven for diapers for eighty. I mean, the
biggest part of it was after the tornado and after
you were born. Fema put us back in a trailer
in church and I had no car, no way to
get out, and every time the storm came. Annie was two,

she would freak out. I would freak out, and I
guess and now they call it chu ksd And there
was no help. I asked the mask and asked for help,
and ever.

Speaker 9 (17:51):
Because you'd say the system failed her, yes, one.

Speaker 2 (17:56):
Yes, How does that make you feel?

Speaker 9 (18:00):
Don't I would be happy.

Speaker 2 (18:06):
I think everyone wanted to make him feel validated, But
in hindsight, we didn't give him a whole lot of
space to just sit with this.

Speaker 8 (18:13):
It's a lot to process. I'm not gonna lie when
I found out about it, you know, I still have
the messages. I said, they tell me your up. I
was like, is that true? And he was like, yeah,
I think I am sobby. It's a lot to process,

a lot, it is.

Speaker 2 (18:41):
Throughout the story, I'd learned something from say Sandy, and
then relay it back to Steve, and Steve would say
something and I'd tell Sandy I was the carrier pigeon.
I'd been a buffer for both of them, but now
I needed to step away and give them a chance
to talk to each other. If Steve had questions, this
was his chance to ask Sandy directly. Every time I

looked over to see Sandy talking to Steve, I thought
to myself. Fifty years ago, Franklin Floyd told Sandy should
never see her son again. Today we were undoing that promise.
While all of this was going down in the hotel room,

Mary who lives pretty close to Steve, checked in on him.

Speaker 11 (19:28):
I take to Steve, I said you okay, He said, Mama,
get down here.

Speaker 2 (19:33):
Mary had no idea that Sandy was at the hotel.
She thought, just as sisters had come. She was already
on the fence about that. So when she realized Sandy
herself was face to face with Steve. Well, Mary was angry.

Speaker 11 (19:46):
Steve was ambushed with this, and it's not very nice
for them to do that. Why I went down there,
and the first thing he said when I went into
the room was this is my mama, and I love her.

Speaker 2 (20:00):
Steve was proudly introducing her, but I think something else
was going on. He wanted the whole room to know
that Mary was the one who had been there for
him his whole life. Or maybe after Mary arrived he
felt guilty after unexpectedly spending the whole day with Sandy.
I wasn't sure Amy noticed a ship too.

Speaker 5 (20:19):
His whole attitude changed because before Mary got there, he
was talking to Sandy and asking her questions and she
was answering for him, and he seemed to be a
little more relaxed. But then when Mary got there, they
say he just Withdrew.

Speaker 2 (20:36):
Jeanette came to the hotel after work too. She seemed
a little quiet, but I figured she was just in shock.
We tried to light in the move by going out
to eat together. We all went, the sisters plus Sandy,
Jeanette and Steve. We all sat at a big long
table at a Mexican joint in town.

Speaker 5 (20:54):
When we went to dinner, it was comical as hell.
We all would just laughed so much, all being silly.
Oh we had a blah.

Speaker 2 (21:04):
But by this point something was a miss. Mary would
later say that she was upset Sandy had come without
telling Steve first. I had a hard time seeing it clearly.
Just then that day, I was only thinking about the
potential positives of having Steve been able to sit down
with Sandy, not the blowback it might have. I'd grown
tired of Steve not wanting to move forward on his journey,

not walking through the doors I'd helped open for him.
Mary and Jeanette aren't exactly the kind of people to
scream or get visibly angry, but it was clear they
weren't happy with this situation. Jeanette said as much to me,
I wish this hadn't have happened. By Saturday morning, the
tension began to come into focus for the sisters. At

the Mexican restaurant the night before, Jeanette apparently told Andrew
she felt this had been sprung on Steve without his consent.
Here's Andrea, and you know.

Speaker 3 (21:58):
She's like, you know, I'll have to pick up the
pieces stand that, but we're your tea, you know. We
We've got his bag, we'll help. We're a phone call away,
we're a text message away.

Speaker 8 (22:06):
We'll talk to you.

Speaker 3 (22:07):
Because if he did have any more questions, she is
the only person that could answer them.

Speaker 2 (22:12):
That Saturday, Steve had to run a few errands, so
we knew we wouldn't be seeing him until later. That
mostly left Sandy, Amy and Andrew alone with me, so
we went out to lunch. How did you be last night?

Speaker 7 (22:27):
We went talking pretty good for a while, help wonderful,
and he called me Mama last night. I told him
I looked for him in every way that I knew
how at the time, and found nothing.

Speaker 11 (22:44):
And he said, oh.

Speaker 7 (22:45):
And then then Mary said that they had done away
with the birth certificate when she adopted him. And then
he said, oh, I see. And that was the end
of that, and then everybody else came back in. We
stopped talking like that. I think it answered a question
for it, but I think in the back of his mind,
and I guess if I were in his position, i'd
feel the same way that I didn't.

Speaker 8 (23:06):
Look hard enough.

Speaker 2 (23:10):
After fifty years.

Speaker 7 (23:12):
Strange, but good.

Speaker 2 (23:14):
Of all the people in the room with Steve that weekend.
It seemed like Sandy could empathize with Steve the most.

Speaker 7 (23:20):
He's more fragile than I am, so I need to
let him do it in his time, in his way.

Speaker 2 (23:28):
Sandy remained clear headed about the whole thing. She knew
this might be hard on him. She didn't always want
to surprise Steven Cherville or think it was the right
thing to do. Amy encouraged her to go. Sandy had
already lost one kid. Amy wanted her to have the
opportunity to know her son.

Speaker 7 (23:47):
I told her at first, I said, no, I'm not going,
and she said, if I should drag you out of
the house, you're going.

Speaker 2 (23:55):
Go too.

Speaker 7 (23:56):
Because I told her that I didn't feel like she.

Speaker 8 (24:00):
Observed to see him.

Speaker 7 (24:03):
I think you did, though I think I do now,
but I'm sort of like Steven that I don't like
to intrude.

Speaker 2 (24:12):
Sandy had already processed Steve coming back in her life
before she even showed up this weekend, but Steve was
still processing. She knew she didn't have a right to
know him if he didn't want her. She recognized that boundary,
but Steve's sister Amy wanted peace in the family. She
thought bringing everyone together would help them move through things.

Amy was trying to get Steve to see for himself
that he wasn't abandoned or discarded. What happened was for
the best. I think Amy, who had already gone through
so much in her life, wanted Stephen Sandy to feel
the peace that she'd found. She knew Janette would be
left to care for Steve in the aftermath, that maybe
Steve wasn't ready, that there would be consequences, but she

barreled ahead, leaving Steve's girlfriend in the dark.

Speaker 8 (25:00):
And I understand why she's mad, because she is the
one that has to deal with him after everybody's gone.
But I wish she would take a minute to realize
all of this needed to hack. We need to close
the story. We need the story to have an Endie,

and I expect him to not talk to me for
a long time.

Speaker 2 (25:29):
This is kind of a remarkable bit of insight. Amy
knews surprising her brother with her Mom had pushed her
brother away, but still hoped he had come back on
his own sometime in the future. Sandy I also recognized
this might be the only time she ever sees Steve.

Speaker 7 (25:45):
He's not at peace and it's not going to be
closure until he's at peace. So I would love to
have a relationship with him, but if that's not what
he wants, I'm not going to push it on. To
know that he's alive and that we found him and
that I've seen him, and if that's.

Speaker 11 (26:06):
All, I've got this all like that.

Speaker 2 (26:10):
After that weekend, it took a long time to get
married to call me back. She ended up talking to
my producer, Kate.

Speaker 11 (26:19):
Well. I was told who his sister was coming, and
that was his and a friend from up Tennessee.

Speaker 2 (26:26):
Mary, for her part, said Steve felt blindsiding and maybe
ganged up on.

Speaker 11 (26:31):
They could have been honest, but they want they will
awful whip him. And if it had told me his
mama was coming, then it might have been different.

Speaker 2 (26:43):
To this day, Mary Sam Sandy wants something from Steve.

Speaker 11 (26:47):
She's trying to play Steve on a pity card, but
he's smarter than that.

Speaker 2 (26:52):
Look, it could be that Steve has just been polite
that day in the hotel, showing Sandy pictures and talking
to her. Maybe you didn't want to offend her, so
he stayed put to hear her out. Even if he
had lost faith in her, But it could be that
Mary was the one having a hard time dealing with
Sandy coming back into the picture. Amy thinks Steve's deferential

to Mary that he felt he didn't want to disappoint
her by knowing Sandy. There's a lot of complicated dynamics.

Speaker 5 (27:23):
Sarah, I think he was afraid to let Mary know
that he wanted Enginette to know that he wanted to meet,
or like there was something wrong with that. It's almost
like he doesn't doesn't want to hurt her feelings. I
don't know. I can't get a read on it. Steven
needed to know and Sandy needed to know that even

though it was a shitty decision that she made to
give him to Mary, it saved his life.

Speaker 2 (27:52):
The circumstances of Steve's life, even the one no one remembers,
ensured he survived.

Speaker 5 (27:59):
Now. He hugged her both days. Friday before when we
were leaving, he hugged her, and Saturday before he left,
he hugged her and he called her mom. Andy, you
teared up and said that he called me mom. That's
when I knew what I had done was right.

Speaker 2 (28:20):
But there's something I keep coming back to if there
is a part of this family story that is black
and white. It's this Franklin Floyd did a world of
damage that persists to this day. He took away a.

Speaker 8 (28:34):
Lot, and we're finding what he didn't get his hands on,
and we're trying to put it back together. And that's
all that matters.

Speaker 2 (28:46):
Every single person this story is experiencing the ripple effects
of their family being torn apart and dealing with their
own struggles. It's like that saying hurt people, hurt people
and bringing a family together is sim not enough to
bring closure to tragedy. Franklin Floyd robbed this family of
a lot. He took Susie from them, and then he

took Michael. He forcing into a situation in which she
felt she had to give up her son.

Speaker 8 (29:14):
You know, we will survived, We have survived, and we'll
just keep growing from here, she hoped so.

Speaker 2 (29:24):
And I do too. After that weekend, my conversations with
Steve and Jeanette Dwindle, I don't think Steve was necessarily
cutting me out. I just figured he retreated from everyone.
Then several months later, my producer Kate tried Mary one
last time, and she picked up I was glad she

picked up. I was worried about how the reunion hit Steve,
and I was anxious to hear how he was faring.
Mary said. The months after the reunion had been tough.

Speaker 11 (29:58):
He has not been the same and he's not happy.
He did not want to meet her and it was
forced on him.

Speaker 9 (30:08):
What does us say about all this?

Speaker 11 (30:11):
He won't talk about it. He didn't want no more
said about it. We're trying to let it die, just
let it die down, and he's trying to avoid Tod
to real. Yeah, he he'll answer him shortly, but he
wants He won't call you on a conversations to God.

Speaker 9 (30:32):
Todd cares about him.

Speaker 11 (30:34):
I know that. But you know, the more you stir
my parents talk, made more you stir shit the worsest thinks.
And he doesn't tell me, he said mom, And she
might give life to me, but she won't answer tell
me the truth on questions. It's like one time you
lie to me, shame on you. Second time's shame on me.

They won't be a third time.

Speaker 9 (30:58):
What is she worried about?

Speaker 11 (30:59):
You know, she didn't know who he did he was,
and she didn't remember all lis She remembers all Lias,
it's just a pedetoria.

Speaker 9 (31:10):
Has he talked about therapy aal like with that help.

Speaker 11 (31:13):
He wouldn't he thought my husband he wouldn't go to they.

Speaker 9 (31:17):
The reasoning I wanted to ask you, So I just
I just want to run this by you. Sandy to me,
seems pretty unrecognizable. She seems like she watches out for
her grandkids, and she cares for her kids, and that
she's she's a better mom than she used to be.
And I wonder if you believe that she's changed.

Speaker 11 (31:37):
I don't know. I'm not a random A lot on that.

Speaker 9 (31:41):
She got settled down, she married for thirty years, had
more kids, and now has you know, grandkids and his
great grandkids, and they say that she's.

Speaker 11 (31:53):
Changed, Well, it's about the bomb.

Speaker 9 (31:56):
Do you think people can change?

Speaker 11 (31:59):
Ye talked they walk so God, Bob, if you're willing.

Speaker 9 (32:05):
Do you think you regrets starting on all this knowing
that his real name and knowing about Tindy and knowing
of us, so we ain't unhappy about that.

Speaker 11 (32:15):
I don't think I think he will calm down eventually,
maybe ten fifteen years from now he might reach out
to him, but I doubt it.

Speaker 2 (32:28):
Three years ago Steve asked me to find out more
about his origin story. We ended up on the journey together,
but neither of us knew just what we were getting into.
Kate asked Steve's sister Amy about my role here.

Speaker 5 (32:42):
It's like he's been digging in and searching, and he
brought Steve to the rest of us. You know, he's
the one that's been fighting as you'd have thought, he
was the parent that lost their traps time ago. You
just thought he was Sandy. Surely he's family.

Speaker 2 (33:06):
Knowing what I know now, should I have done this?
I think the answer is yes, if you ask me,
I think the reunion is the only thing to do.
But I wish i'd realized center that Steve needed more
time to process. Not the months I gave him, but years.
And like I've said, I have my own journey to
Steve's story. I first heard about him twenty years ago,

long before I knew Amy or Sandy or even Steve himself.
I said this in the beginning. This case chose me.
The way I see it, Steve and I are still
early in our relationship. Once you've been in this situation
like this, one have been lost and found the people

you embark with on that journey. Stay with you even
if we don't talk for a while. I think we
can pick up right where we left off when Steve's ready.
I guess I know why I'm so invested in this one.
You ever wish for something you can't have. I wish
I have what Steve has, the opportunity to know his siblings.

I wasn't afforded that, And when I opened the door
for room, he decided he didn't want to walk through.
It's left me jealous. I guess what I do to
trade places with him, just for a day. You always
want what you can't have. I'm used to dealing with
the dead. It's easier to hand someone to bot some bones.

There's a homecoming and a finality of knowing your loved
one's not missing anymore through at peace. It's so much
harder to work with the living. We're complicated and messy
as humans, people who love and hurt each other. Today,
Steve has more people to love him and ready to
support him when the time is right for him to

reach out. I hope you'll be glad to have those
people in his life, and I'll hope you'll forgive me
for the mistakes he might alone the way I've opened
the door, and hopefully sometime in the future stable choose
to walk through.

Speaker 1 (35:28):
Remember how I told you at the end of the
story we'd see things in a different light. Just as
we'd finished this episode, Todd Matthews died suddenly. He's now
on the other side of the veil between life and death.
He spent so much of his life thinking about the
dead and hoping one day to reunite with the siblings
he lost, But his sudden passing has left us. All morning,

I keep thinking about all the things he said during
this journey that now have deeper meanings since he's gone.
So we felt like it was only fitting to spend
time with his story for our first bonus episode. We're
going to dig into the life of an original, our host,
Todd Matthews, so on the other.

Speaker 10 (36:08):
Side now, and who's to say that he might leave
a little tidbit of information here, little clues you don't
know that you know. Do I believe in God? Yes
I do. Do I believe in Todd?

Speaker 2 (36:22):
Yes I do. Hello. John Doe is an original productions
by Revelations Entertainment in association with First and Last productions
from Revelations. Our executive producers are Morgan Freeman and James

Younger from first to last. Lindsey Moreno is the executive producer.
Our producing partner is Neo on Hume Media. It was
written and produced by Kate Michigan. Our editor is Catherine
Saint Louis. She is also ne on Home Media's executive editor.
Executive producer is Sherah Morris. Our development producer is Ian Lindsay.
Our associate producer is Rufaro Faith Masarua. Sound design and

mixing by Scott sun Reveal Demon Original music composed by
Jesse Pearlsting. Additional music came from Epidemic Sound and Blue
Dot Sessions. Vendall Faulton is our fact checker. Our production
manager is Samantha Allison from my Heart Media. Dylan Fagan
is our executive producer. Special thanks to Adelia Ruben at
Nion Him and Carrie Lieberman and Will Pearson at iHeartMedia.

I'm Todd Matthews. You can learn more about name us
at nam us dot com. The number for the National
Center for Missing Exploited Children's Call Center is one eight hundred.
The loss that's one eight hundred eight four three five
six seven. Eighth. The National Sexual assaul Hotline from the Rate,
Abuse and Incest National Network is one eight hundred sixty

five six four six seven three. Okay, guys, this is
the end of the show. If you didn't like it,
don't do anything. But if you did like, get you
make sure that you rate and review the show. It
helps more people to find it and hear this wonderful story.
Thanks again for listening.
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