STOCKTON -- Reina Tornero is the eldest of eight kids and now she is looking for her youngest brother after her and her siblings were separated in foster care decades ago.
"We grew up in a small place, so we were all really close and we depended on each other,” Tornero explained. “My five youngest siblings all got adopted by different families. Two got paired together and then there were three others.”
The three oldest kids stayed in the system until they aged out.
Though years have passed, Tornero has since reconnected with four of the five siblings that were adopted out. Now, she's leading the mission to find their youngest brother, Manuel, born July 20, 1999.
“He was six months old, I think, the last time I saw him,” Tornero said.
Getting all the siblings together was a dream she shared with her brother Chris, who was the first siblings she found seven years ago. The two had grown close but he died of cancer last year.
“Life is really short and we always thought we had until we were old to do this, or we had forever to reach out to our siblings and let them live their lives,” Tornero said. “But if we don’t take the chance now, we may never get the chance.”
But the search has been difficult. She says new information led her to believe his name may have been changed to Cameron and he now may be out of state.
“People are asking, ‘Why are you looking for him if he hasn’t reached out to you? Don’t you think there’s a reason?’ And honestly, when I reached out to Brendon and Bryan, the two oldest of the five, they were excited that I found them and reached out to them because they thought we just forgot about them,” Tornero expressed.
She wants her youngest sibling to know that's not the case.
Tornero says while she doesn't want to force a relationship, she has a message for him if he's out there.
She wants him to know "that we care."
"That we’re looking for him and we’re excited to see what kind of man he grew up to be and what he looks like.”