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  1. #1
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    CA - Renee, 5, & Ronique 'Pepper' Smith, 3, Gardena, 1973

    I'm not sure if this is the correct area in Websleuths to post this...
    Friday 3/25 Dateline NBC ran the story--"The Girl Who Didn't Exist":
    About Rhonda Christie ("Pepper Smith") Another long-ago missing child finally found as an adult. Does anyone have more background on this case?

  2. #2
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    That was such a sad story. WEll, at least some of it was good. She found out the older child was actually her half sister. And she found her adoptive family at least, before the mother died.
    I wonder if the half sisters will ever search for their bio mom?

    I am just happy to hear they have their own children and families now. They both deserve it.
    “Every day that they don’t find something is good for me.“ Billie Dunn

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    I got angry watching this. Why didn't the "mother" look for her child? She talked about how upset she was but they did NOTHING. I would have been all over the media, you couldn't shut me up. I would park myself in front of the white house. I have a very hard time believing that the police blew her off because she let the child go with someone she knew. That just doesn't make sense. She was the legal mother, the other person wasn't. Why wouldn't they look for the child? Something is not adding up. Even the guy telling the story said something like "the police wouldn't look according to her". As if he didn't quite buy it either.
    She talked about how upset she was but her actions sure didn't show that. Just go home when your child is missing? Who would have just given up so easily in that case?
    And if I were the girl I would have been upset that they didn't seem too broken up by her "kidnapping". Look at all the Jaycee Dugard's famiy did to find her. And this poor girl didn't even get a missing poster. Was she even registered with any child locating service?

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    I think it was impossible to involve LE because of the hinky adoption. I think they took in the baby because they knew it was going to be a better homelife for the baby. But they also admitted it was not legit from the get go. imo
    “Every day that they don’t find something is good for me.“ Billie Dunn

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    Quote Originally Posted by katydid23 View Post
    I think it was impossible to involve LE because of the hinky adoption. I think they took in the baby because they knew it was going to be a better homelife for the baby. But they also admitted it was not legit from the get go. imo
    That was my feeling too. And remember it was back in the 70's and 80's. We didn't have CNN and all the media resources. Everything was localized.

    I'm happy the adoptive parents were able to reunite with her before the mom died. I thought it said a lot that the parents were still married.

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    less0305 is offline The face is familiar, but I can't quite remember my name!
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownRice View Post
    That was my feeling too. And remember it was back in the 70's and 80's. We didn't have CNN and all the media resources. Everything was localized.

    I'm happy the adoptive parents were able to reunite with her before the mom died. I thought it said a lot that the parents were still married.
    I agree also. I think they knew the baby coming to them at 3 months wasn't really on the up-and-up. I think they even said words to that effect. I'm not even sure how the adoption ever became legal, but that was a different time and era. And yes, the news was very localized with no 24 hour news stations or the internet. It was a heart wrenching story. I'm glad she's doing well now and have the remaining years with her adoptive parents and her half-sister.

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    I so confused on this one with Rhonda...I like to see it again. But I really think that Shirley was the real mom or bio grandma. JMO I still don't understand why Gloria involved?

    I have many questions after watching this case. Both girls seem to be strong and I wish the best for both of them. I still feel that Dateline only touch the surface of the real story.

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    Agree with all of you. This story broke my heart. I just figured since the era it happened in there were not many resources to use to look for her. I missed the part about the adoption but no matter.....was just an emotional story all the way around.
    Here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nana46 View Post
    Agree with all of you. This story broke my heart. I just figured since the era it happened in there were not many resources to use to look for her. I missed the part about the adoption but no matter.....was just an emotional story all the way around.
    Thats what I think.....my MIL knew some people who had a small Grandson taken, they never did find him.
    Im happy for Rhonda. Her adopted parents seem like they wanted a baby so bad they were willing to grab the first one. You can tell the Mother was crazy about her....all the pics, the beautiful canopy bed. Its so sad
    that all those yrs Rhonda missed out on those wonderful parents.
    The Mother made a mistake but Rhonda doesnt seem to hold it against her why should we?
    Its nice the way they include Rhonda's Sister in things, too. Rhonda is happy now thats all that matters. Think if she would've never found them? The Mother is very sick from terminal cancer, she might not have been able to recall everything. Give her a break, the poor woman.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tfrohning View Post
    I so confused on this one with Rhonda...I like to see it again. But I really think that Shirley was the real mom or bio grandma. JMO I still don't understand why Gloria involved?

    I have many questions after watching this case. Both girls seem to be strong and I wish the best for both of them. I still feel that Dateline only touch the surface of the real story.
    Actually, the older Sister kind of took up for Shirley....saying it couldve been worse. But Im still wondering why Shirley took them, she obviously didnt have the resourcs to care for them in a proper way. They do both seem strong!


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    Quote Originally Posted by katydid23 View Post
    I think it was impossible to involve LE because of the hinky adoption. I think they took in the baby because they knew it was going to be a better homelife for the baby. But they also admitted it was not legit from the get go. imo
    I thought I remembered the mother saying that the adoption was legal and that she was all theirs and no one could take her away from them. Maybe I misheard.
    I realize things were different then but really, I've seen people look for their lost pets more. Even if it was an "iffy" adoption, wouldn't it be more important to know that the child was safe?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DairyGirl View Post
    I thought I remembered the mother saying that the adoption was legal and that she was all theirs and no one could take her away from them. Maybe I misheard.
    I realize things were different then but really, I've seen people look for their lost pets more. Even if it was an "iffy" adoption, wouldn't it be more important to know that the child was safe?
    This is what I recall as well. The adoption wasn't legal at first but then after Shirley took the chld and didn't return her that first time they made it legal. Which begs the question why the adoptive mother would ever allow Shirley near her child a second time. I dunno... the story was most compelling and my heart just broke for Rhonda/Pepper. I'm not sure there were any illegalities involved concerning the adoptive parents but something is 'off' with the whole story. I understand that the mother was in ill health but I was surprised by her lack of emotion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by feddup View Post
    Actually, the older Sister kind of took up for Shirley....saying it couldve been worse. But Im still wondering why Shirley took them, she obviously didnt have the resourcs to care for them in a proper way. They do both seem strong!
    that my thoughts.... that why I feel that Shirley is bio grandma rather than mom. I am thankful that they were not abuse in anyway. But they had no childhood.

    My girls were in school in 80s and I had to show shots record and birth certificate.
    I wondering how they even got in school. oh so many questions!!!

    what really got me was Shirley would not give up any information even on her death bed.

  14. #14
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    and how did Shirley end up with the Half sister too? I think I must missed the part how they found out they were half sister. All I remember hearing was they found out they were half sister.

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    Here is an article on this case. Rhonda and Renee, I wish the best for both of you in life, health and happiness, you deserve it.

    http://www.theunion.com/article/2010...100709957/1001

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