A British woman who was abandoned by her parents as a baby is inching closer to finding answers about her past as scientists make advances in genetic genealogy.
Anthea Ring, 81, was hidden in a blackberry bush on a hillside in southern England in the summer of 1937, the BBC reported.
Ring was found by an 11-year-old girl walking with her family.
“There’s a baby up here,” Jane Dodd told her parents, who didn’t believe her at first.
“I haven’t had five children and not know what a baby sounds like,” her mother noted later.
After a short search, the family found Ring, a blonde-haired child dressed in pink. She looked to be about 1 year old and was covered in scratches and insect bites.
Ring was later adopted by a loving family who had lost a daughter three years before. When she was 11, her parents told her that she was adopted, but it would be years before they’d tell her how she’d been found.
Ring was 15 when she finally learned the truth, and since that day, she’s been pining to know more about her biological family and why they’d seemingly abandoned her.
After she was found as an infant, Britain’s Scotland Yard launched an attempted murder investigation on the case and made a nation-wide appeal for information.
Ring, however, would not find out more about her biological parents until decades later.
— BBC Sussex (@BBCSussex) March 26, 2018
After first seeing her baby grandson, who looked exactly like her as a baby, Ring was inspired to resume her search for information.
In 2012, she took a DNA test, which revealed that she was 92 percent Irish and had a cousin living in North Carolina named Joan.
Further DNA tests and genealogy trees linked Ring to an Irish family from County Mayo, and she and other experts came across records there of an unmarried mother named Lena O’Donnell. When they found the children O’Donnell had later in life, one of them turned out to be Ring’s half-brother.
Ring later learned that her birth mother had been taken in by a charity for unmarried mothers called the Home for Guardian Angels after delivering the baby, but she didn’t stay long.
Genealogists don’t believe O’Donnell was the one who actually abandoned Ring, because there would have been easier ways to do it in a big city such as London. One theory of how Ring ended up in South Downs is that her birth mother left her in foster care while she went to work. Some foster mothers at the time charged a fee to help get children adopted.
Still, Ring is much further along in her incredible journey to gain knowledge about her familial history.
“I may never know what happened to me but I’ve come to terms with it,” she said.