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6-year-old boy uses Facebook to unite brother and sister

Clifford Boyson hugs his sister, Betty Billadeau of Florissant, Mo. on Saturday at the Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport, Iowa. The two have been estranged for 60 years. The Des Moines Register photo by Bryon Houlgrave via AP

Associated Press

DAVENPORT, Iowa — An Iowa man has been reunited with his sister 65 years after the siblings were separated in foster care thanks to a 7-year-old friend who searched Facebook.

Clifford Boyson of Davenport met his sister, Betty Billadeau, in person on Saturday. Billadeau drove up from her home in Florissant, Mo., with her daughter and granddaughter for the reunion at a hotel in Davenport.

Boyson, 66, and Billadeau, 70, both tried to find each other for years without success. They were placed in different foster homes in Chicago when they were children.

Then 7-year-old Eddie Hanzelin, who is the son of Boyson's landlord, got involved.

Eddie managed to find Billadeau by searching his mom's Facebook account with Billadeau's maiden name. He recognized the family resemblance when he saw her picture.

"Oh, my God," Boyson said when he saw and hugged Billadeau.

"You do have a sister," Billadeau said.

"You're about the same height Mom was," Boyson said.

Billadeau's daughter, Sarah Billadeau, 42, and granddaughter, Megan Billadeau, 27, both wiped away tears and smiled during the reunion.

"He didn't have any women in his life," Sarah said. "We're going to get that straightened out real fast."

Boyson said he's looking forward to visiting Billadeau near St. Louis and meeting more family.

"I'm hoping I can go and spend a week or two," he said. "I want to meet the whole congregation. I never knew I had a big family."

Eddie, who enjoys messing around with his family's iPad, said he's glad he was able to assist in making the reunion happen and that he learned about helping others at school.

"Clifford did not have any family, and family's important," the boy said.

Near the end of their tearful reunion Boyson and Billadeau presented Eddie with a $125 check in appreciation of his detective work.

January 13, 2013 - 9:59pm


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