Local News

Apex woman searches for information on Chilean family

Posted March 1, 2010 5:14 p.m. EST
Updated March 2, 2010 6:20 a.m. EST

— Jeanine LaDue, of Apex, has been scouring the Internet looking for any sign that her birth mother survived a magnitude-8.8 quake that hit Chile on Saturday.

“I’m a little nervous about what I will find out,” the 19-year-old said Monday.

The last she heard, her mother, Yolanda Del Carmen Yanez Vasquez, was living in Chile.

“It’s hard to get in contact with anyone down there, especially right now with everything going on,” she said.

An American family adopted LaDue from Chile when she was 3 months old. LaDue has not seen her birth mother since.

“My mom did not have enough money to afford me,” she said.

National Emergency Office said Monday that 723 people were killed in the quake and 19 others are missing. Seeing images in the media of the destruction in Chile has opened up new wounds for LaDue.

“I got really emotional. I started crying. I know that sounds weird since I really don't know my mom,” she said.

LaDue now spends hours searching Web sites for any news about her family. She believes her sister, who is 10 years older than she, was adopted from an orphanage in Santiago, Chile.

“I don't just think about my mom; I think about everybody else,” she said. “I am from there. Those are my people that are hurting right now.”

LaDue understands devastating natural disasters. As an infant, she nearly died in a mudslide in Antofagasta, Chile. “The nanny that was taking care of me saved me," she said.

LaDue is planning to go into the Air Force. She says she'd like to travel to Chile to help with the recovery.