Soon-to-be-bride discovers she was allegedly kidnapped as a child: 'Such an emotional journey'

·4 min read

What would you do if one day you found out the very foundation your life was built upon was a lie?

That happened to Shawnette Davis when she was 26. She shared her story on TikTok under the username @thebeardedmom.

“This is how I found out I had been kidnapped,” she claimed in the first of a whopping 45 videos (and counting) on the topic.

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Davis, who is now 42, said that in 2006 she was “in a healthy place” in her life for the first time and preparing to get married. She had two children.

She said she wanted to track down her biological mother, and assumed the fastest way to do so would be to look for her criminal record. She called the sheriff’s department and gave them all the information she had. 

The sheriff then became very interested in the case. Within a few minutes, he asked her to sit down.

“I sat down … he told me he couldn’t find any information about my mother, but that I was a missing person,” Davis explained. “There was a police investigation I could not access because the records had been archived, but I had been kidnapped … So yeah, tough day.” 

Over the course of dozens of videos, Davis explained the story behind the alleged kidnapping and the tumultuous journey to meet her biological mother. She even shared news articles about the case.

She claimed her mother arranged for her to be “sold” to her alleged “kidnappers” when she was 6 months old and that her grandmother had no idea about the plot so she was the one who reported her missing. Davis explained later that even though money was allegedly exchanged on her behalf, she still refers to it as a kidnapping

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Davis said that for the first 10 years of her life, she believed her alleged “kidnappers” were her biological parents. When they split, the “male captor” got custody of her, and she alleged that she suffered abuse so severe she had to run away from home.

“I was always on the run,” she said. When she became an adult, Davis said she spent a “great deal of money” trying to find her biological mom, and ultimately she did.

The woman, Julie Bray, claimed she had been looking for her daughter for years. That’s also what she told KSL-TV, a local news station in Salt Lake City, Utah, when they reported on the reunion.

“None of that was true,” Davis said in a TikTok. She said she met her mother’s siblings and they warned that she should stay as far away from her as possible. She didn’t listen, and the relationship between her and her biological family became “toxic” so she cut them off.

She explained that the relationship became intense because they recognized her existence as a child who had disappeared — celebrated her birthday and such — but when she existed in their lives, they didn’t know what to do with her.

“This is kinda sad because I really wanted to know my biological family,” she said. “It became really uncomfortable to try to get to know each other … My grandma had gifts for me she had been buying my entire life.”

After years of trying to get to know them, including the loss of an aunt she was close with and the dissolution of her marriage, Davis left her whole life behind including her husband and her career and moved in with her biological half-sister. She said she began “drinking like [she] didn’t need a liver anymore,” and times were tough.

Eventually, their time together came to an end, and they “parted ways.” The story goes on for a while, but ultimately she left both her captive family and her biological family behind.

She never found out why her mom allegedly “sold” her to her kidnappers, but she said she doesn’t want to try to understand, either. No one went to jail for the alleged crime. 

“It has been beautiful sharing my story with you,” Davis concluded, saying she doesn’t often get to tell people about her life. “I am doing much, much, much better now.” 

The support across the original 16-part series and all the follow-up videos has been immense. 

“This story is insane. I hope you are in a happy, health place now,” one user wrote.

“I am so proud of you. You seem like a warrior of a woman,” another said.

“Such an emotional journey,” a third commented.

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If you found this story interesting, you might also want to read about this mom’s scary experience being “hunted” at Target.

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