ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Less than three weeks after a plea for her birth mother to come forward blazed through media outlets across the globe, Katheryn Deprill has met the woman who abandoned her 27 years ago in a Pennsylvania Burger King restaurant.
Deprill, known as the “Burger King Baby,” got a lifetime of questions answered when she met her mother Monday. It was the first time the two had contact since the mother, who has remained in the Lehigh Valley, left Deprill at the Allentown restaurant on Sept. 15, 1986.
“Oh my God, I’m so excited!” Deprill said today. “I have literally not wiped the smile off my face. I never in a million years thought I’d find her.
“It’s definitely the best scenario possible,” Deprill said. “She’s very normal. She’s very sweet.”
Deprill confirmed to The Morning Call today that she had finally met her mother, but she said she wanted it to be her final media interview. She said she’s been blitzed by media requests since she took to Facebook on March 2, looking for her birth mother.
Deprill’s mother, who doesn’t want to be identified, went to Allentown attorney John Waldron for advice on how to handle the situation on March 13 — 11 days after Deprill publicly launched her search.
Waldron arranged a meeting between the mother and daughter at his office.
Deprill showed up Monday with her youngest of three sons, 7-month-old Jackson, and her adoptive mother. Her birth mother showed up with her husband.
“It was pure shock to see it was actually her standing there,” Deprill said. “The first thing I got was my hug that I wanted.”
“Everyone hugged,” Waldron added. “It brought tears to your eyes.”
For hours, Deprill was able to ask the questions she had wanted to for decades: Why did you leave me? What is my heritage? Do you have any health problems I should know about?
“It was emotional and dramatic,” Waldron said.
Waldron said the mother explained she became pregnant when she was raped in a foreign country by a stranger during a family vacation when she was 16. Ashamed and embarrassed, he said, she hid the pregnancy. The mother, according to Waldron, said she gave birth in her bedroom at age 17 without her parents knowing about it and drove to Burger King to drop off the baby, knowing it would be crowded and someone would find the infant.
“She kissed the baby on the forehead and left,” Waldron said. “She was a kid in high school. Back then, you couldn’t just go to a hospital and drop the baby off, no questions asked. It wasn’t, ‘I don’t want the child.’ It was because of what happened. … Sometime rape victims blame themselves even though they’re not at fault.”
The mother was also able to tell Deprill she’s of Irish and German heritage and they discussed health issues.
Waldron said the mother, who came from a “good, middle-class” family, became filled with guilt and about six months ago began trying to find out what had become of her daughter. When she heard Deprill’s pleas to find her, it was “a no brainer” to step forward, Waldron said.
“As time went on, it affected her,” Waldron said. “It bothered her she wasn’t part of (Deprill’s) life.”
Waldron wouldn’t immediately comment when asked if his client has children, saying he wanted to check with her before revealing some details. Waldron said he didn’t know the woman before this month, but knows her husband.
Deprill has not requested DNA testing, but says she might in the future.
Waldron says the resemblance between the two is “crystal clear.”
“I felt like I was looking at myself in the mirror,” Deprill said. “She definitely looked like what I had thought.”
Without offering specifics, Deprill said she’s convinced the woman is her mother because she knew certain details that no one else would know.
Waldron acknowledged he and his client discussed possible legal issues that could present themselves by the woman coming forward. Deprill has said she’s not looking to press any charges and Waldron said he believes the statute of limitations has run out on crimes the mother could have faced decades ago.
The mother and daughter have agreed to see each other again.
“We have 27 years of catching up to do,” Deprill said.