A woman who was left at Penn Station when she was 4 years old has finally been reunited with her family — more than 40 years later.
Washington state nonprofit worker Mika Cheesman tracked down her birth family through a DNA website after a lifetime of wondering who her parents were and why they’d left her alone inside the transit hub in September 1975, according to The Tampa Bay Times‘ incredible story of the reunion.
She now knows she’s really Linette Wright Smith from Atlantic City, and her mentally ill single mom Barbara left her at a candy store inside the station, then told family her little girl had died by falling off a building.
Cheesman’s dad, Richard, was working on the crew for Ice Capades and only learned she was gone when he returned from touring, the paper reports.
The 4-year-old, meanwhile, refused to speak for a month and was put into a Manhattan orphanage.
A Post story from the time said the nuns there nicknamed her “Missy,” and were looking for her parents, but couldn’t coax any information from the tight-lipped tot.
“Every once in a while she looks as if she’s dazed, she doesn’t cling to adults, she’s not craving attention and she prefers being by herself,” Sister Rita Conyers told The Post at the time.
Cheesman was eventually adopted by an upstate family, who gave her a new name, but she says she was abused and wound up homeless back in New York, according to the Times.
She traveled all over the country, married three times and raised five kids. Then in 2001, she posted on a genealogy website: “I am looking for my birth mother, i was left at Penn Station in New York City, on September 24th 1975 at the age of 3 or 4 years old.”
A sympathetic private eye saw the post and helped her begin looking — but didn’t jibe much luck until last year, when the gumshoe sent her a DNA test and put the results into Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com.
That turned up a cousin, who took one look at a photo of Cheesman and called her uncle Richard asking if he had a daughter in the early 1970s, according to the Times.
“Yeah, I did,” he replied, “but she passed away.”
Cheesman finally flew to Florida to meet with her half-sister, Vivian, and an uncle recently, where she was able to speak with both of her parents on the phone.
Richard, who is on dialysis, told her he’d been heartbroken about the death, and was “so happy” to learn she’s alive.
Her mom was “overwhelmed” but said, “I love you,” according to the paper.
Cheeseman says she’s now going to change her name again — to “Mikalin.”
“I’m not angry,” she told the paper after learning the story of how she got separated from her family.
“I never, ever was angry at my other family. I knew something was wrong.”
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