(Photo: Reuters/Mike Blake)
A man born in Illinois who was abducted and taken to Mexico 34 years ago is currently waiting to reunite with his mother for the first time after he crossed paths with a California pastor who learned about his story shortly after entering back into the country illegally.
Pastor Freddy Rivas of Iglesia de Cristo Ministerios Llamada Final saw David Amaya Barrick, 37, in downtown San Diego last week and decided to help him after learning that he was arrested and then released by the U.S. Border Patrol when they verified that Barrick was, in fact, born in a Chicago hospital and is a U.S. citizen.
"He was wandering around downtown with his pockets empty and he saw our catering truck," Rivas said, according to Reuters. "He was standing and staring at the food and I knew he was hungry. I started talking to him and he told me his story."
According to Reuters, border agents arranged for Barrick to stay at a San Diego shelter, however, he was turned away when he arrived and now he is staying at Rivas' church until he meets his mother.
In 1977, Barrick's Caucasian mother, Kathy Amaya, left her husband and moved with him to Chicago. During their separation, Amaya allowed her ex-husband to visit Barrick until one day he came to pick him up and took him to his native Mexico to live with his parents. It was the last time Amaya, who now lives in Wisconsin, saw her son.
Last week, Barrick crossed into California from Mexico with no identification documents and told U.S. Border Patrol agents that he had been beaten and robbed of his money and cell phone before entering the border. Upon verifying his identity, officials tracked Amaya and notified her that her son was alive.
"When the Border Patrol agents told me they found my mother, I could not believe it. I started crying," said Barrick. "I arrived in San Diego with nothing, nothing, and now I have a family."
Amaya said Barrick thought she had abandoned him because his Mexican family had him believe that was the truth.
"The phone call was a miracle, I looked for him for so long," said Amaya.
With the help of a translator, Amaya assured Barrick that she had been looking for him for more than 30 years and said she couldn't find him because he was using her maiden name, Barrick, as his last name. Over the course of their conversation, Amaya found out that David had children and much like her story, his ex abducted their children, and he hasn't seen them since.
Due to financial strains, Amaya was not able to see Barrick as soon as she found out he was in the U.S., however, ABC 7 San Diego reports that a member at Rivas' church decided to help Barrick obtain a U.S. government issued birth certificate and identification card and donated about $450 toward a plane ticket that will partially cover Barrick's traveling expenses to Wisconsin.
"We are going to find a way to get him to his family," said Rivas. "The grace of God brought him to our shelter and the grace of God will get him to his family."