Steve Carter had always had questions about his childhood: why was his birth certificate created a year after his birth; who were his real parents?
Yet the 35-year-old, who was adopted aged four, was stunned when a simple internet search revealed a past that threw up even more questions.
After reading about Carlina White, an Atlanta woman who discovered she was snatched from a Harlem hospital as a baby, Carter decided to conduct his own search.
And he was stunned when he found a picture on missingkids.com of what a baby named Marx Panama Barnes would look like now – and realised it was him.
‘I got chills,’ Carter, who lives in Philadelphia, told People magazine. ‘I was like, “Holy c**p, it’s me”.’
He discovered that he had been born in Hau’ula, Hawaii, but had gone missing with his mother, Charlotte Moriarty, when he was six months old.
His mother had disappeared before, but after she failed to return after three weeks, her partner and Carter’s father, Mark Barnes, reported the pair missing.
Speaking to People magazine, Barnes said he never knew what had happened to his girlfriend and baby son on June 21, 1977.
‘I spent about a year and a half going crazy driving around the island,’ Barnes, now 61, said. ‘It was rough.’
Now Carter has discovered that his mother took him to a stranger’s home, where she gave police a fake name and birth date for her son.
Questions: Carter, then known as Marx Panama Barnes, vanished with his mother Charlotte Moriarty, who dropped him into state care before disappearing again. She has never been found
She was taken to a psychiatric hospital and Carter was put in protective care, People reported. But she vanished a few days later – and has never been found.