Emerald Pellot graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a degree in Writing & Popular Culture. She worked as Senior Editor of College Candy for 2 years, covering feminism, popular culture, and college life before joining LittleThings in 2015. Based in New York City, Emerald covers a wide range of topics from human interest pieces to celebrity news.
Patrons and fast food workers at a Burger King heard crying coming from the bathroom. When a worker decided to investigate, they found a tiny baby girl tucked under the sink.
It was September 15, 1986, and Katheryn Deprill was just hours old when her mother made the decision to leave her in the fast food restaurant’s bathroom stall.
Yet, there was always a part of her that was missing: the knowledge of where she came from. She never resented her birth mother, though she always wondered what happened.
“I can’t imagine what she had to go through,” Katheryn said, in a 2014 interview. “She could have been in a very abusive relationship. There are so many things that could have been, and you don’t know until you walk a mile in her shoes.”
Patrons began to hear the cries of a baby, and Deprill was quickly discovered underneath the sink by fast-food workers. She was wrapped in nothing but a red sweater. The mystery of the “Burger King Baby” made national news.
What kind of mother would do this? That was the question on everyone’s minds. It would take Deprill 27 years to learn the answer.
They handed her a photo album with newspaper clippings and baby photos.
“You just wonder where you come from,” Deprill said. “I would never want to replace my adopted family, but being adopted, a part of you is missing and unless you’ve been adopted, you really just don’t understand that.”
In 2014, when Katheryn was 27 years old, she went on Facebook and posted this photo of herself holding up a sign that read:
“Looking for my birth mother. She gave birth to me September 15th 1986. She abandoned me in the Burger King bathroom only hours old, Allentown PA. Please help me find her by sharing my post. Maybe she will see this. Thank you.”
After just two weeks, Deprill’s biological mother, Cathy Pochek, contacted her. So what happened all those years ago that brought Pochek to a Burger King bathroom?
When she was 16, Pochek was raped while traveling abroad with her family. Ashamed of her pregnancy, she hid it from her parents and everyone she knew. She secretly gave birth in her own bedroom, then hours later walked into that Burger King bathroom and left the baby there.
Deprill said she understands why. “She left me somewhere she knew I’d be found,” she said. “She did not want to throw me away.”
Pochek knows that she will be judged, but she believes it is worth it if she can convince another mother to do things a little bit differently.
“If we can help some other girl who is in the situation that I was in, it’s worth a little bit of judgment that people might bring upon us. If it’s just one girl that we can help, it’s worth it,” Pochek said.
So what kind of mother would do this? It seems a young, frightened one, but who still wanted the best for her baby.
Watch this mother and daughter’s joyous reunion, and please SHARE their incredible story on Facebook!
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