Who Is Elizabeth Hunterton? Former Miss Nevada Who Was Abandoned at an Airport as Baby in 1980 Set to Meet Her Biological Mother in Two Weeks

Hunterton's journey took a poignant turn when she was contacted by her biological father's brother, her uncle, through a popular ancestry website.

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A former beauty queen who was abandoned in an airport as a newborn back in 1980 is set to meet her biological mother for the very first time in two weeks. Elizabeth Hunterton, 44, had always known that she was adopted. Her remarkable journey began in January 1980, a mere 10 days after her birth, when two pilots found her abandoned at a gate in an airport in Nevada.

Hunterton, long before she was crowned Miss Nevada, was known only as baby "Jane Doe," who has been using social media to document her painstaking journey of tracing her biological parents and her family to learn more about her own identity.

Tracing Her Identity

Elizabeth Hunterton
Elizabeth Hunterton X

Although Hunterton was soon adopted into a caring family, she couldn't shake off the lingering questions about her identity and the circumstances that led her parents to abandon her.

"I was about 10 days old," Hunterton told People Magazine in a 2021 interview. "I grew up my entire life trying to figure out what I did in those 10 days that ultimately led to them saying, 'Let's just leave her at the airport.'"

Although her research led to the heartbreaking revelation that her biological father died two decades ago, Hunterton has managed to re-establish connections with her biological family.

Now, she eagerly awaits the imminent meeting with her biological mother, a moment that undoubtedly holds immense significance and emotion for her.

"I got a lot of feelings happening," she said in one of her latest videos on TikTok, where she boasts more than 102,000 followers. "Probably the overarching one is fear.

"I'm freaking scared. Of what? Who knows," she added.

Elizabeth Hunterton
Elizabeth Hunterton Instagram

Encouraged by her best friend, Elizabeth Hunterton decided to share her story on TikTok, where she has been documenting her quest to find her birth parents.

Through her videos, she candidly shares the emotional journey of unraveling the truth behind her abandonment and the healing process that accompanies it.

Hunterton was adopted and raised in Reno by a loving family. She has enjoyed a fulfilling life, achieving notable success such as being crowned Miss Nevada in 2004 and is currently the organization's CEO.

However, she has also grappled with a sense of emptiness stemming from her lack of knowledge about her past.

"It all started with a connection on 23 and Me," she said in a TikTok video.

In Search of Her True Identity

Hunterton's journey took a poignant turn when she was contacted by her biological father's brother, her uncle, through a popular ancestry website. She called him and said he told her "'My dear niece, this is the kind of things you hear about in the movies but you never expect it to come to a theater near you.'" Hunterton agreed.

Elizabeth Hunterton
Elizabeth Hunterton Instagram

Her uncle described her father as "an incredible man" and expressed regret that he had never known about her existence.

This revelation shattered one of Hunterton's greatest fears, as she realized her father had died in 2004 without ever knowing he had a child, something he had always wished for.

"My birth mother never told my biological father about me," Hunterdon said.

"When he passed, he became one of my guardian angels," she said. "I'm very much my biological father's daughter; we look alike, we talk alike, and the first time I met my biological uncle, he just kept staring at me."

While Hunterton's search for her biological father concluded relatively quickly, finding her biological mother proved to be a much more challenging affair.

After nearly reaching a point of despair and believing her mother to be dead, Hunterton received a breakthrough when a cousin provided her mother's contact information.

Fueled by hope, she penned a heartfelt two-and-a-half-page handwritten note to her mother, embarking on a courageous journey of reconnecting with her past.

Hunterton's mother finally responded, revealing the long-hidden details of her past.

She revealed that she was born to a black father and a Japanese mother who had met at the Fort Ord military base and was born at a California hospital.

Hunterton learnt that her abandonment was not the fault of her mother. "When I received her email, she shared that she wasn't able to take care of me as she believed I deserved," Hunterton told People.

"Therefore, she gave me to her roommate who was supposed to take me to an adoption agency. When my birth mother was told that I was actually left at the airport instead, it took quite a toll."

Hunterton was overjoyed to learn that her mother had given her the name "Elizabeth" as her first name which her adoptive parents had chosen for her over "Jane Doe."

This article was first published on May 5, 2024