Taiwan police successfully help American woman find her nanny after 53 years

After weeks of having no luck finding her nanny, the 61-year-old got a break one day when a Taiwanese passenger she was chatting with on Taipei Metro suggested that she seek police assistance

(Photo courtesy of the NPA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—A 61-year-old American woman came all the way from the U.S. to embark on an effort to find her nanny who took care of her more than 50 years ago, and as she was about to give up on the mission after weeks of getting nowhere, she got a break one day that eventually led to a reunion with her nanny.

Linda Dorn, accompanied by her children, arrived in Taiwan on February 12 to look for her childhood nanny, National Police Agency (NPA) Crime Prevention Division officer Chung You-dian (鍾侑典) told Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) during an interview.

After weeks of having no luck finding her nanny, the 61-year-old got a break one day when a Taiwanese passenger she was chatting with on Taipei Metro suggested that she seek police assistance, Chung said.

It was Chung who received Dorn at the NPA headquarters in Taipei on March 13. The officer quoted the American woman as saying that her father hired a nanny surnamed Chen to take care of her and three other siblings after her family moved to Taiwan with the U.S. Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) about 53 years ago, but they moved back to the U.S. three years later when her father finished his work in Taiwan.    

Dorn said that her family had been in correspondence with Chen for many years after their departure to the U.S., but her nanny seldom replied because she was not good in English writing, and eventually they lost contact with each other.     

As Dorn was so thankful for the meticulous care her family nanny had provided to her and her siblings when they were small and for the warm memories her care evokes that she decided to make the long trip to Taiwan to find her nanny, Chung told CNA.

Chung said when he learned that Dorn was scheduled to leave Taiwan on March 20, he immediately activated the searching mechanism and turned on the emergency mode to race with time. Chung and his colleagues used the old photos and the nanny’s English name Dorn provided to figure out that her nanny's Chinese name is “Chen Yue-jiao”(陳月嬌), but it turned out that there were about 300 people with the same name, according to the officer.       

After matching the old photos and the address on the English letters, they were lucky to be able to locate the nanny at noon on March 14, the NPA officer said, adding that they immediately shared the good news with Dorn.    

Chung said that when he called Chen, 77, to tell her that someone from abroad was looking for her, she thought it was a scam phone call and hung up on him. As Chen refused to take subsequent calls, police had to pay her a visit and told her all about Dorn, the officer added.   

Arranged by the NPA, Chen and Dorn met at the NPA headquarters on March 15, where they were catching up on all the good memories left behind more than 50 years ago.

Chen’s son Lin Chih-wei (林智威) told CNA that because it was a long time ago when his mother looked after Dorn and her siblings, so that's why she thought it was a scam when she received the call from police. He said his mother was surprised to know that Dorn had actually come back to look for her. He said his mother lost contact with her American employer because her English was poor, but she missed the time when they were together in those years and said her employer is a good family.  

Lin said that after the meeting at the NPA, his mother showed Dorn and her family around the city, while engaging in video chatting with Dorn’s family members in the U.S. from time to time during the tour.    

With the reunion being achieved in less than 20 hours, the case reportedly marked the police’s swiftest completion of a search mission for separated people involving foreign nationals.  

Linda Dorn meets with her childhood nanny Chen Yue-jiao (陳月嬌) at the NPA headquarters in Taipei on March 15 (Photo courtesy of the NPA)

(Photo courtesy of the NPA)