Janet Keall believes she has uncovered another half-sibling in her decades-long search to solve the mystery of her biological family, but the the story has taken a sad twist.
Last week, Keall made a public plea for help in finding out about a newborn named Kenneth Allen who was abandoned at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver in July, 1980.
Keall believed that baby was very likely her half-brother. The circumstances of his abandonment — left on the stairs of the hospital — were almost identical to her own. And she knew her birth mother had lived in North Vancouver during that time.
But over the weekend, Keall learned baby Kenneth only lived a short time, passing away soon after his birth from a rare congenital disorder.
"I was quite hopeful he was alive and living a great life," said Keall, speaking from her home in Charlottetown, PEI.
According to new information, baby Kenneth died from the same disease that claimed the life of another confirmed half-sibling — an infant she calls "Rose."
Rose was abandoned at a Vancouver hospital in 1983, and like Kenneth, did not live long.
"Only one in 200,000 people have [the disorder]," she said. "It's just too rare."
"Everything lines up. I found my half brother."
Learning the fate of baby Kenneth is just the latest chapter in an improbable story.
Last summer, Keall was reunited with a living half-brother and half-sister. All three had been abandoned as infants in Prince Rupert. DNA testing proved they had the same mother.
Five confirmed siblings
Including baby Kenneth, there are now five confirmed half-siblings with the same biological mother who were abandoned between 1976 and 1983.
And Keall believes there's a likely sixth who was abandoned in the Vancouver area around 1981 or '82, so the search continues thanks to volunteers and Vancouver Public Library archives.
"I've got a great team of people looking through microfiche for stories of abandoned babies. It's really the only way to find these things." she said.
Late last year, Keall learned the identity of her birth mother, only to discover that she had recently passed away. She says she plans to write a book about her story.
"I went into this wanting the truth. I say this with a heaviness and with a seriousness, because you don't always get what you imagine you will. The story isn't always rosy."