When Grace Kivisto buried her mother 15 years ago, I doubt she ever dreamt this day would come. You see, Grace's mom, Lula Cora, left the then 15-year-old Grace in 1970 after a family fight and never returned home to her 14 children. In 1996, investigators found human remains buried in family's backyard, and assumed it was the missing mother. DNA evidence wasn't that sophisticated back then, so no testing was done.
I think you see where this is going. Two years ago, Grace offered up her mother's bones from the backyard to investigators to test the DNA, since the technology is decidedly much better now than it was in 1996.
Yesterday, Grace got a call that the bones were not her mother's, and that her mom is alive and well, and living in Florida. Yup.
Could you imagine? So Grace was gardening yesterday when a detective came by to explain that the remains weren't her mother's and that after a quick online search for Lula Cora Hood, they found out that the now 84-year-old Hood was kicking it in Jacksonville, Florida.
Grace told Galesburg, Illinois news station WQAD that she was surprised by her tears after all these years, and that she can't wait to see her mother.
I'm not sure how I would react if my mother disappeared, was later found in pieces in my backyard, then wasn't found in pieces in my backyard, and then was found living in Florida. I think I'd be pretty pissed. Hard to say, but I guess I'd want to meet her again for the first time to maybe get some answers.
Grace says she's planning a trip to Florida as soon as possible, but if I were her, I'd want to do some double checking before I book a ticket. Lula Cora seems rather squirrely, so who knows where she is. The story is both heartwarming and confusing, but one thing's for sure: It's a Fourth of July weekend miracle!
Oh, and no one yet knows whose remains were found ... guess that's a story for another time, folks.
WATCH Grace talk about her experience:
Photo via marioanima/Flickr