Jonathan was kidnapped from his home in Bogotá, Colombia when he was only 3 years old. It would be more than three decades before he’d return home.
The love between a mother and her child is forever. No matter how many years go by, they’ll never forget each other because there is a connection that only they understand. This mother, who never stopped waiting for her son and was able to be reunited with him 32 years after he disappeared, knows this truth very well.
The whole drama began one day in 1987, when little Jonathan, aged 3, was playing with his other brother, Alfonso (7 years old), in the streets of the Minuto de Dios neighborhood in Bogotá, Colombia. Suddenly, a man offered to sell them sweets and took them away.
According to El Tiempo, the whole scene was witnessed by their other brother, Juan Jiménez, who was 5 years old at the time. Jonathan didn’t show up again, which triggered the problem. His mother searched desperately for him without success.
It was a complicated matter because the child had been born at home and there was no civil record of him. “At that moment, I felt a pain that only God and I know. Others only judge and criticize. That pain is kept just for oneself,” Ana Jiménez told El Tiempo.
Ever since that September 25th, the 22-year-old felt as though she’d lost a piece of her life. Each year becomes more painful as she wasn’t able to let go of her burden.
The man who took the child was Camilo Guzmán, a friend of Ana’s partner, who was a police sergeant. It was Camilo himself who confessed to the mother in 1994 that he’d taken the child on his partner’s orders.
“He came to tell me that the child had been taken to the United States, but that it was a good thing. That he was going to be better off there than with me since he was with a wealthy family,” said Ana.
“I had the hope that one day I was going to see him. I never left the house because I thought that one day my son was going to arrive with a ‘sponge cake’,” she recalled, admitting that she hoped to be reunited with her little boy at some point.
It was Juan, one of Jonathan’s brothers, who decided to take the search into his own hands. In 2007, Juan was able to leave to study in the United States in the hopes of also being able to find his brother.
After several attempts, including through Camilo’s family, he was unable to achieve any results. His only breakthrough came in 2018, when he reached out to a DNA company called My Heritage, which offered to give DNA kits to people searching for a lost relative. He sent in his story, received the kit and took the test.
After so many years without losing faith, he received an email on December 2, 2019, which came from his brother, who was still hesitant to contact a relative. He too had taken the same DNA kit.
“Hey! I’m John. I’m 34 years old and currently living in Norway. I was adopted from an orphanage in Colombia at the age of 4. I have no known family, which is part of the reason I took this test. The result suggests that you are my half-brother, uncle or nephew,” Jonathan’s note read.
“So, unless you are also adopted, it looks like I am very close to finding out more information about what happened to me in Colombia in the 1980s!”
However, although it looked like the sign he’d been waiting for, Juan thought it might be a relative on his father’s side whom he’d never met. Also, according to his memory, his brother’s age didn’t match the age on the result.
However, as they continued talking and exchanging photos, he discovered that it was his brother after all. The version he had of his life made it clear that he was unaware that he’d been stolen. “He grew up thinking that his mother or father had thrown him out on the street, but he never knew he’d been kidnapped,” Juan said.
It all came as a surprise to his mother: “My son called me. I was here in the house, he prayed for me and then he said, ‘Mom, I found him.’ And I said, ‘Jonathan! And he said: ‘yes.’ When I hung up, I was shouting, thanking God, jumping up and down, calling my family and friends,” Ana said.
Juan was the first to travel to Norway to see his brother after more than three decades. From there, they coordinated a reunion with their mother. On January 7th, 2020, they arrived in Colombia, and the next day they went to visit the family.
“That first time I saw him I was shaking. The whole family was keeping an eye on me to make sure I was okay and that my legs wouldn’t give out. I was standing with the welcome sign, and I felt like I was going to collapse,” said Ana.