An equally moving and bizarre family reunion in Belarus: a father and his daughter are back together after 20 grueling years of lost sight of each other on a train journey. The police took into account that the man and his wife had killed the then 4-year-old Yulia Gorina. The girl turned out to be 900 kilometers away and was raised by an adopted family all those years.
The now 24-year-old Yulia mysteriously disappeared from a train that ran between the capital Minsk and Asipovich in 1999. Her father had fallen asleep during the journey and assumed that someone with bad intentions had taken the girl. In reality, Yulia ended up in Ryazan, a Russian town of 200 kilometers outside Moscow. She was found on the side of a railroad. The local police tried with all their might to trace the parents but in vain.
The girl was placed with foster parents and raised there as their daughter. Now, exactly twenty years later, she has finally found her biological parents. That happened after her new boyfriend, 31-year-old Ilya Kryukov, found old newspaper articles through Google that extensively covered Yulia’s disappearance. A DNA test in the hospital confirmed that Yulia is the daughter of Viktor and Lyudmila Moiseenko.
“We couldn’t even talk”
The moving family story has been dominating all newspapers in Russia and Belarus for the entire week, and British media are now also doing a great job. They write that the father “pleaded with his daughter for forgiveness” because he blamed himself for losing her. “We were all in tears,” Yulia told Russian media. “We couldn’t even talk, but just cried and hugged each other. My mother let me sit on her lap as if I were her little girl.”
Yulia’s parents, both nearly 60 years of age, frantically searched for their lost child. “We took every train for days from Minsk to Asipovichy and back and asked passengers if they had seen Yulia. We explored every well she could have fallen into, checking stores, abandoned houses. Everything but nothing helped.” The police also took the loss exceptionally seriously and set up extensive searches and questioned various witnesses.
The investigation took a surprising turn halfway through when the parents were suddenly considered suspects. The investigation team suspected that they might have something to do with the girl’s disappearance. Tests with a lie detector yielded no results, and the investigation was eventually stopped due to a lack of evidence. What has happened remains unclear to this day. Yulia has a vague reminder that she traveled with another couple during the train journey, but that’s it.
Despite the lost years, the parents and the girl are so happy that they have found each other again. “God is real, miracles exist,” a crying mother stammers for the Russian camera. “It was almost impossible to get through all those years without knowing what happened to your child. It was more than terrible. In the end, we just moved. We couldn’t stay in the house where Yulia laughed and played before. We could not walk the same roads and thought it was terrible to get close to a track. But the most important thing is to keep waiting and hoping.”