Missing Denver mom found in Tampa after 3 years

Posted at 10:24 AM, Dec 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-11 10:24:04-05

It's a Christmas miracle that started with a simple Facebook post on Wednesday.

"Just got to know more about her," homeless advocate James Worley said.

Worley posted a picture of 58-year-old Jennie Barela on his Homeless Lives Matter page. Berela is a homeless woman he got to know throughout the year, visiting her frequently on the streets of Tampa.

"I guess about a month and a half ago, I had found out her son's name," Worley said.

After some digging, Worley found out Barela's son lived in Colorado. With a little more research he found out where he worked and gave him a call.

"I asked him does he know Jennie Barela and he said yes, it's my mother," Worley said.

"I was shocked. I was in dismay. I was sitting at my office working at my desk going about my routine and it just caught me off guard. It was most definitely a blessing," said Barela's son, Tristen Osaka.

After the emotional call, Osaka boarded a plane to Tampa. Worley spent Thursday evening watching over Berela sitting on a bench in Brandon, making sure she wouldn't run off. Berela suffers from schizophrenia and has gone missing before -- but never for this long.

Finally after years of searching and filing missing person's reports, Osaka got a Christmas gift he has waited for over three years. He got a hug from his mom.

"Just ecstatic. A lot of emotion, sad, happy," Osaka said. "Want to get her back home, get her cleaned up, get her safe and get her off the streets."

This miracle was made possible by one angel who took some time to care.

"Do more than just give food out to people and clothing," Worley said. "Talk to people on the street. Get to know who they are."