Son snatched at birth hugs his mum for the first time after 42 years

A man has finally been able to hug his birth mother for the first time in his life after thugs of former Chilena dictator Augusto Pinochet forcefully removed him from her arms minutes after he was born.

Jimmy Lippert Thyden said he started having doubts about his origin after reading reports of Chilean-born adoptees being reunited with their families after years apart.

He turned to the Chilean association Nos Buscamos, an organisation that for years has been working on reuniting families with the babies stolen under a government-sanctioned trafficking scheme.

And after an at-home DNA test, Thyden has now been able to reunite with his mother Maria Angelica Gonzalez – and his four brothers and one sister.

After a shy “hola mama,” Thyden and Gonzalez shared a tearful hug, the now 42-year-old man finally telling her:b “I love you very much,” for the very first time in his life.

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He said: “It knocked the wind out of me … I was suffocated by the gravity of this moment. How do you hug someone in a way that makes up for 42 years of hugs?”

After Thyden contacted them, Nos Buscamos discovered he was born prematurely at a hospital in the Chilean capital of Santiago and immediately placed in an incubator.

His mother had been forced to leave the hospital and when she came back to collect him, staff claimed the baby had died and his body had been disposed of.

According to the organisation, thousands of children were forcefully taken from their parents between the 1980s and 1990s and put up for international adoption.

The child-trafficking scheme is only one of the several stains marring Pinochet’s 17-year rule in Chile.

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Pinochet ousted Maxist president Salvador Allende in a coup on September 11, 1973. Over the years, his government carried out multiple human rights violations, killed at least 3,095 people and tortured hundreds more.

Nos Buscamos has been working for nearly 10 years on reuniting forcefully adopted children and their birth families.

Founder Costanza del Rio said many of the birth mothers came from poor backgrounds and would not have been able to mount a legal challenge at the time to reclaim their children.

And on several occasions, they simply couldn’t fight because of a cloud of lies that made them believe their babies had died like in Gonzalez’s case.

Del Rio said: “The real story was these kids were stolen from poor families, poor women that didn’t know. They didn’t know how to defend themselves.”


The organization partnered up with the genealogy platform MyHeritage in 2021 to provide free DNA tests to Chilean adoptees questioning their origins.

Thyden’s test proved he was 100 percent Chilean and was able to connect him to a first cousin, who shared his number with Gonzalez.

To secure a call with his mother, the former US Marine was asked to send photos of his own family as well as other important moments of his life.

He said: “Then the dam broke. I was trying to bookend 42 years of a life taken from her. Taken from us both.”

He traveled to Chile with his wife Johanna and daughters Ebba Joy, 8, and Betty Grace, 5. He was welcomed with open arms and presented with 42 ballons to pop, one for each year he was kept away from his family.

He said: “There is an empowerment in popping those balloons, empowerment in being there with your family to take inventory of all that was lost.”

Thyden said his adoptive parents have been very supportive of his efforts to reunited with his birth family, and said they were also the “unwitting victims” of the criminal scheme of a regime that destroyed thousands of lives.

He added: “My parents wanted a family, but they never wanted it like this,” he said. “Not at the extortion of another, the robbing of another.”

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