Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday 4 The Missing

My blogs here are usually about feelings of mothers of missing daughters.. However I make an exception every monday to write about one person who has gone missing and has not recieved the attention that it should or the case has gone cold or old in hopes that someone will read it and recongnize the person who is missed.. And so here is the story which I did copy and paste with the website link shown.

Does anyone know this woman Brenda? Have you seen her?

Last heard from in 1983 when she was 34, Brenda Joan Allen Szabo had walked out of a prison yard, off drugs and on her way to Dallas with plans of a new life. Szabo was never heard from again. Now her four children, who had been adopted out in childhood and met each for the first time as adults, are looking for Mom.
Leading the search is Szabo's daughter, Elizabeth Alldridge, 33. One of her stack of leads is her mother's booking photo taken in a lineup at Frontera State prison. It's a photo of a beautiful young woman who doesn't appear hardened by what had happened to her. Alldridge has worked nonstop piecing together the puzzle of her mother's life, from 1966 when she ran away from an abusive stepfather, to 1983 when she seems to have vanished.
"I have always looked for her because I had memory of her...I feel attached," said Alldridge, a married mother of three who now lives in Las Vegas. "I've been actively searching for her since I was 18. The result of my search, so far, is that I found everyone but my Mom. Having come so far, I can't quit...I can't let go," explains Alldridge. "I love my adoptive parents, but there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of her. Is she living the good life she sought? Or is she a 'Jane Doe' buried in some potter's field?
Alldridge pieced together a 15-year period in her mother's life and it led to three siblings she never knew: Harry Allen, 38, of San Diego; Joanna Harvey, 29, of Kalamazoo, Michigan; and Debbie Zinmaster, 27, of Three Rivers, Michigan. She combed foster-care and adoption records, examined police records, spent hours on Internet, telephoned people across the country she didn't know. She even sent a blood sample to Texas in hope a DNA match would link her to a dead woman whose body was never claimed.
In 1966, at age 17, Brenda Szabo had left her firstborn, a 7-month old boy, on the steps of a New York Police Department precinct station and left town when police wanted to question her about her boyfriend's overdose, police records show. She then criss-crossed the country from New York to California, giving birth to thee more children. The fathers of Szabo's children lived tragic lives -- One died in a knife fight at a rock concert in Watsonville, California; another committed suicide; still another died from a heroin overdose; and Frank Szabo was killed in a car accident. Szabo's drug use and series of arrests began in California, in 1969. She waitressed, danced in nightclubs, sold drugs and sex, county records show. She changed Social Security numbers frequently and used a number of aliases, according to court documents and family members.
On April 17, 1972 at a Culver City, California hospital, she gave birth to Alldridge and named her Elizabeth Jeanette Bruce. When Alldridge was 4 months old, Szabo fought with her boyfriend and left her daughter in the care of a friend until an armed robbery conviction in 1973 landed Szabo back in jail; Alldridge was placed in foster care. In a 10-page letter dated January 22, 1975, written to her social worker while Alldridge was still in foster care, Szabo revealed doubts about being a mother: "I never looked at life or being a mother realistically....I have to do something for myself before I can do anything for Lisa [Elizabeth] ..I do love her."
In the early '80s. Szabo started pulling her life together. She moved to Antelope Valley, California and enrolled in a community college to take courses in wildlife and forestry, transcripts show. She was off drugs and worked as a dog groomer. But a prior probation violation came up to haunt her and she was incarcerated at Frontera State Prison until 1981. In 1983, she told relatives she was heading back to Dallas promising she would call "in two weeks." She has not been heard from since, and would now be 55. Alldridge looks at her mother's booking photo and sees calmness and hope. "She looks beautiful," Alldridge said. "Logic tells me she got a new life and does not want to look back. The mug shot says it all."
But Lori Carangelo, whose international organization, Americans For Open Records, has helped over 14,000 adoptees and parents locate each other free of charge, and whom Alldridge contacted for search ideas, believes that if Szabo is alive, she's no different than 98% of mothers who "voluntarily relinquished" children to adoption.
In Carangelo's experience these mothers didn't want to give up their children and they never forget them. They simply had no other options at the time. According to Carangelo and stats compiled from major private search-support organizations as well public Social Services agencies, only 1-2% of the mothers found by adult adoptees have refused contact. Like adoptees, many relinquishing mothers are afraid of rejection or of imposing on the 'better life' they were promised their children would have but which no social worker can predict nor guarantee. But they want to be found.
Carangelo read the many 1970s letters in Szabo's adoption file that were written by Szabo, Szabo's mother, and social workers. Szabo did not want her daughter (Elizabeth Alldridge) to be adopted. Szabo and Szabo's mother tried many times to reclaim her. Alldridge's father and his father, also cared. Dead or alive, Brenda Szabo wants her daughter to find her.
Carangelo, 60, found her own son in 1987, 18 years after she had lost him to adoption. She retired from assisting family searches except for the many incarcerated adoptees she hears from, but provides a web-site offering others free "how to" self-help information, including free downloads of the latest editions of Carangelo's books, "The Ultimate Search Book," "Chosen Children," and "Statistics of Adoption," at
If you have any information as to the possible whereabouts of Brenda Joan Allen Szabo, please contact Elizabeth Alldridge, (702) 480-2890 or

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