April 16th, 2009
08:23 PM ET

Reunited three decades later

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/16/art.pratt.jpg]
David Puente
AC360° Producer

For almost 30 years, Dirk Pratt believed his daughter, Francesca, was dead. This week, his tears became happy ones. He was reunited with his long, lost daughter.

The last time he saw Francesca, she was two. Pratt says her mother took her to Ecuador for a quick trip to visit family. Then he was told his baby daughter was bitten by a mosquito and died. "I couldn't function or do anything," he said. "She was my whole world."

Since then, he spent each of Francesca's birthdays looking at the one and only photo he had of her. But, six weeks ago, Pratt ran a search of his own name on Google where he found a message: "I am trying to contact Dirk Pratt. I am his daughter." "The first thought in my mind was, 'Francesca or a sick joke?'" he said.

It was indeed Francesca who had been told her father died in a diving accident. But she says she never quite believed it. "Inside of my heart I felt something. 'He's alive,'" said Francesca.

After learning the truth, she moved back to America to search for her father. Yesterday, Dirk and his daughter, were finally reunited.

"He's more happy because I am here," Francesca, now 30, said and she brought some more good news. Pratt not only got his own baby back but there will be an addition to his growing family. "I am having a baby," Francesca said. "I am pregnant. I am so happy."

Filed under: 360° Radar • David Puente
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Terry, TX

    Great story....horrible situation.

    April 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  2. Donna

    How horrible to have lost all those years ! Enjoy whatever time you have left on this good earth together. I certainly would tear out the heart of her mother in court somehow. International abductions are terrible things. There is a lesson here....never let your spouse take your children out of the USA without you!

    April 16, 2009 at 9:39 pm |
  3. Mickey

    Absolutely awesome! We need to hear and read more stories like this! I, too, have a daughter, and she's the "center" of my life. I could never imagine being without her for 30 years! Very happy for you both! Hang on to your child, and now, grandchild as long as you can!

    April 16, 2009 at 9:30 pm |
  4. Carol King

    And who said the age of miracles was over...

    April 16, 2009 at 9:23 pm |
  5. Jennifer Deputy

    Hi Andy,

    U need to buy yourself a Kindle 2. It's about the only way u can keep in touch with it all. I love mine. It would make the perfect gift for you.



    April 16, 2009 at 9:04 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    What a great reunion – so happy for them both. Its unfortunate that whoever (I am assuming the mother) told each of them the other was dead gave them years of heartache. Dirk must feel like he hit the jackpot though right now – his daughter back and a grandchild on the way. I'm really happy for him.

    April 16, 2009 at 9:02 pm |
  7. Kazfar

    Wow – proof that miracles can happen! I am so happy for both of them!

    April 16, 2009 at 8:53 pm |
  8. Elizabeth

    Truly a miracle! So happy for you.

    April 16, 2009 at 8:52 pm |