Fayetteville Man Claims To Be Father Of Boy Found In New York
Posted July 29, 1996 7:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — Authorities in New York are investigating a Fayetteville man's claim that he is the father of a boy who was found abandoned in a Brooklyn toy store.
Johnathan Adams said he could not believe it when he saw a picture of the abandoned boy on television Sunday night.
``That's me,'' Adams said. ``He looks just like me.''
The boy, believed to be 4 or 5, was found wandering unattended in a Toys R Us store in Brooklyn on March 21. The boy was placed in a foster home the next day, where he has been ever since.
Officials believe the boy, who says his name is Jonathan Adams, may have ties to North Carolina because he points to the state when shown a map.
But The New York Post says the child was born in 1991 in South Carolina when his mother was 14. The report that the child's mother was 14 at the time of his birth shook Adams' belief that the child is his.
Adams says the woman told him she was 23 and was divorced from a Fort Bragg soldier. She says he wants to see her picture so he can settle the matter.
In New York, Nicholas Scoppetta, commissioner of the Administration for Children's Services, said Monday night that his department has talked with Johnathan Adams, 55, of Fayetteville and other people who are corroborating Adams' story.
Scoppetta would not discuss details of Adams' statements. He said that information provided by Adams was ``very helpful.''
Meanwhile, a South Carolina woman told the New York Post that the boy was abandoned by a teen-aged mother who was too overwhelmed to care for him.
Maxine Adams, 40, of New Ellenton, S.C., told the newspaper that she is the boy's aunt. She said the family never reported the boy missing because the mother, Tamika Adams, 19, told them he was living with his biological father in Columbia.
Johnathan Adams of Fayetteville told WRAL-TV5'sRick GallMonday night that he was in a relationship with the mother of the boy for 18 months when she lived in Fayetteville in 1991. He said she left in 1992 and moved to New Jersey to live with her grandmother.
A few months later, Adams said, the woman called to tell him that she was pregnant and he was the father of the child.
"I remember when she called me and asked me, 'I want to name the son after you,' and she named him Jonathan," Adams said in an interview.
No one has ever reported the boy missing, Scoppetta said.
``There seems to be no indication, at least in New York, that someone is looking for him. It's astonishing,'' Scoppetta said.
ACS spokeswoman Maggie Lear has said that from the beginning of his ordeal, Jonathan has talked about a mother named Tameeka, a father Bernard, a brother Brenden and a sister Sheteria. He also talks about a grandmother, uncle and aunt who seem to have been important figures in his life.
Scoppetta said he believes Jonathan had divided his time between his mother, who he can describe in detail, and his aunt.
What the child can't say or doesn't remember is what investigators need to know most - an address, a phone number or even a city where he lived.
``A lot of people have obviously loved this little boy,'' Lear said. ``A lot of people took care of him. Where are they? It's just a strange, strange case.'