A baby was mysteriously abandoned in an airport bathroom 35 years past, and the mystery still remains. Beryl Wright was scrubbing her hands at the sink when she spotted it on the cold floor of the public restroom. A blue and white checkered bundle. It was completely still. As she would recount years later, Wright assumed it was just a discarded rag. It was the afternoon of April 10, 1986, inside the busy hive of Gatwick Airport, 30 miles south of London Center.
Now back to the story, right? A sales assistant at the terminal’s duty free store followed her curiosity and pulled back the blanket. Inside was a newborn baby boy. Police, social workers and airport employees were soon on the scene with the abandoned child, who was determined by doctors to be about ten days old. According to The Guardian. A social worker wrapped a cold baby in her scarf. The child’s clothes were wet, so the airport’s public relations staff used their team money to buy him a new outfit. A police Sergeant and father of three bought something to feed the baby and even offered to take him home if the mother and father never showed up. No one came forward. Instead, newspaper headlines across England began filling up with stories about the orphan newborn. They dubbed him Gary Gatwick, after the hareport’s Teddy bear mascot. The boy was bundled off to foster care for the next 20 years, his Wright would later say. She didn’t go on a date without thinking about what happened to the little boy she discovered in the bathroom alone. The details of the day would also eventually Hound the boy himself, who was adopted by a local couple in Chris and Steve Hydes.
After growing up in a loving household and starting his own family with a partner, Hides decided around 2004 to launch his own effort to fill in the blank spots of his backstory. I want my mother to know that I’m not angry with her and there’ll be no publicity if she comes forward, I told The Guardian in 2011. But there are so many things I’d like to ask her and so much I’d like to know about my background. After years of false starts and frustrating dead ends, Hydes announced earlier this month he discovered his birth parents on a Facebook page set up to document his search. Hydes said genealogical research has led to the breakthrough, but Heights now only has part of the picture. We’ve been able to trace and confirm my birth family, he wrote on Facebook earlier this month. Unfortunately, my birth mum has passed away, so I’m unable to find out exactly what happened and why.
As Heights told The Independent in 2016, the tragedy of his abandonment was countered by a loving childhood with his adoptive parents, Sandra and John and three sisters Heinz, now a landscape gardener, only began to wonder about his roots after he and his partner, Sammy, had their first child, a daughter named a lot of as he began his search in 2004, it became clear he was facing a difficult job.
First, he assembled everything he could relate to Gary Gatwick’s 15 minutes of Fame. Press reports from the time documented. The kindnesses showered on the abandoned boy on the day was discovered. According to the Guardian, the airport’s public relations team arranged for him to return to Gatwick to meet them, the police officer who fed him, the staffers who used their team money for new clothes, the woman who wrapped the baby in her scarf, and Wright, the one who discovered him on the floor. They knew more about me in some ways than I knew about myself, he told the paper. What amazed me was how much they cared. Official documentation was less helpful.
When he’s requested the official police files from the investigation, he learned the paperwork had been destroyed. Heights was particularly troubled because the records would probably contain more information about one of the more interesting leads buried in the press reports. Two days after he was found, a woman called a Gatwick police, claiming to be the baby’s mother. According to the Guardian, the caller said she’d been too young to have a baby. His name was Michael and gave the name of another woman who could look after the child.
Police traced the caller down and interviewed her, and the claims were dismissed. But the police files might have contained useful information. Heidi’s search was equally frustrated by the location of where he’d been abandoned. If the baby had been dropped at a Church or police station, it would have anchored the search in a geographic location. But the baby was found in an airport. He could have been from anywhere. Hides may not even be from England. He began collecting the records of every flight touching down and taking off that day at Gatwick.
In the early 2010s, a DNA test helped clear up some of his heritage. A population geneticist at the University of Edinburgh used Hyde’s Y chromosome to trace his male bloodline to England’s Eastern side. But the testing at the time could only go so far. In 2010, Hydes published an open letter to his mystery mother in a tabloid, the Guardian reported. It was a Hail Mary. I hope to finally nudge the woman to step forward. Of course, I realize that she’s gone to a lot of trouble to stay hidden, both at the time and over the years, Heise told the Guardian a year later.
But times and circumstances change. It could be that while she couldn’t acknowledge me in the past, she can now or in the future. The letter didn’t get a reply. Scientific strides would end up furnishing Hides with his answer. According to his Facebook post. Genetic Genealogist and the same group of analysts who helped solve So many cold cases in recent years eventually tracked down his birth family. Although his mother has passed away, HEDES was able to connect with his birth father and siblings from both parents who were all unaware of my existence, he wrote.
However, the details of how he ended up in an abandoned airport bathroom on that day in 1986 are still unknown, he acknowledged. As you can imagine, this is quite a sensitive issue to all involved and very new to us all, but I wanted to take this time to thank everyone for their continued support over the years. He ended up writing.