The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Woman, 68, seeks to solve mystery of her birth


LUDINGTON (AP) - Sixty-eight years after she was left on the doorstep of a western Michigan family's home, Julie Himebaugh is still trying to discover the identity of her parents and why her mother decided to give her up.

Ludington police said this month they no longer have records of the discovery of the baby on May 7, 1946. But the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday stories in several newspapers at the time paint a detailed picture of the baby's discovery.

Himebaugh was about 6 months old when she was left, authorities said. A note from a woman identifying herself as the mother said the father was a soldier killed in World War II and said she was unable to care for the baby.

Himebaugh now lives with her husband in Elizabeth City, N.C.

Newspaper stories told the tale of the doorstep baby, detailing the efforts that went into trying to find her mother. The Pere Marquette car ferry was monitored closely. An ad was put in the Ludington Daily News asking for information.

Associated Press

THIS UNDATED photo shows Julie Himebaugh, 68, of Elizabeth City, N.C., who learned in 1999 that she was abandoned as a 6-month-old girl on the porch of a family in Ludington. Since then, Himebaugh has used a range of approaches, including DNA testing, to discover the story about her unknown birth parents.

A probate judge made an appeal in the Ludington newspaper, asking the child's mother to come forward to sign off on rights in order to speed a potential adoption. Nothing worked.

"It's hard to believe all of this was done because of me. I caused a whole lot of commotion," Himebaugh said.

Newspaper accounts said a note pinned to the blanket-wrapped baby said the parents ran away and married and had a happy home before the father left for the Army, then was killed.

"I'm just grieving my life away, so I have decided to end it all by taking my own life," the letter said. "Please keep this quiet and do not have it printed in papers as I should never want my baby to know what has happened."

Since then, Himebaugh has pursued DNA and other leads, but has had no luck.

Her daughter, Laura McCombie of Accokeek, Md., said it would bring peace of mind to have some information.

"She just runs into roadblock after roadblock after roadblock. I don't want her to just give up," McCombie said. "I want her to follow through."


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