Kathie Rennie and Janet Keall

Kathie Rennie and Janet Keall

Three people abandoned in Prince Rupert as infants discover they are half siblings

In the late seventies three babies were abandoned born at least 19 months apart and DNA confirms that all three are half-siblings.

In the late seventies, three babies were abandoned in similar ways, born at least 19 months apart, and now DNA confirms that all three are half-siblings.

This year was Janet Keall’s second — and final — attempt to find leads on who left her on the doorsteps of the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital when she was a newborn and that search brought all three siblings together.

Keall’s first appeal 20 years ago revealed nothing, and so she decided to try once more hoping that with social media her message would spread wider. It worked.

On May 9, she received a call from a man who said he was her social worker in Prince Rupert. He said it was nice to see her doing so well.

Before she hung up the phone he added, “you know, I don’t want you to get your hopes up but I just want to tell you something that I kind of always held onto. There was a baby girl abandoned before you and we always thought that you were related.” He told her about the baby girl who was left on a porch outside a home in 1976.


A similar story

Three days later she received an email with the subject line “We have a similar story” from a man in Vancouver.

The email details his abandonment in an apartment stairwell in Prince Rupert more than a year after Keall was found.

“Of course I’m thinking, ‘Well this is what the social worker must have meant but he must have gotten it wrong’,” Keall said.

Instead, he was the third abandoned baby. Kevin, who wants to remain anonymous, and Keall spoke on the phone. After noticing their commonalities, they ordered a private accredited legal DNA test.

While they waited for the results, Keall went through some of her old files from her previous research over the years. Although, she was adopted and grew up in the Lower Mainland and now lives in Prince Edward Island, she had made a trip to Prince Rupert to find more details on her past and to rifle through archives from The Daily News. One of the articles she saved was from 2003 about a woman named Kathie Rennie who had also been abandoned.

Then it clicked. “She was that baby the social worker was talking about,” Keall said.

In the archives

There are three articles in The Daily News archives on all three of the siblings published days after they were found abandoned. An article in The Daily News in February 1976 describes Kathie — a “baby girl found on a Seal Cove doorstep Saturday morning is in satisfactory condition today.”

Kevin was written about in 1979 with more details. He was found early in the morning on a stairwell at the Colleen Apartments on First Avenue West. “The infant Caucasian boy, who was in good health, was wrapped in a tea towl and a fitted sheet, police reported. A penciled note was left with the baby,” which stated he was born May 20 and nothing else.

Keall’s article was in October 1977, and describes her as being found wrapped in a blanket and left at the rear of the Prince Rupert Hospital early Friday morning; the similarities of their story then only coming to light now.

The Daily News reported that Kathie Rennie was found on the doorstep of a house on Feb. 7, 1976.The Daily News reported that Kathie Rennie was found on the doorstep of a house on Feb. 7, 1976. Prince Rupert City and Regional Archives/The Northern View

The Daily News reported an infant boy left abandoned in an apartment stairwell. Kevin was left with a note that read he was born May 20, 1979. The Daily News reported an infant boy left abandoned in an apartment stairwell. Kevin was left with a note that read he was born May 20, 1979. Prince Rupert City and Regional Archives/The Northern View

The Daily News reported on Janet Keall being abandoned as an infant outside of the Prince Rupert hospital on Oct. 14, 1977.

The Daily News reported on Janet Keall being abandoned as an infant outside of the Prince Rupert hospital on Oct. 14, 1977. Prince Rupert City and Regional Archives/The Northern View

The DNA results

A few weeks later, the DNA results came back. She read the results to Kevin over the phone.  The first portion of the test came back negative for being full siblings, but they are 97.3 per cent confirmed to be half-siblings.

“I was sobbing. I could hardly even speak. He’s on the other end of the phone going, ‘You’re my sister,’ and he’s all excited,” she said.

She flew to Vancouver to see him, and let her family meet with him first.

“Everyone was out in the backyard. It was a beautiful sunny day. I walked around the corner and we just embraced and hugged and cried and kept touching each other. It was beautiful,” she said.

Janet Keall meets her half-brother, Kevin, who was also abandoned in Prince Rupert as an infant.


Janet Keall meets her half-brother, Kevin, who was also abandoned in Prince Rupert as an infant. Rupert’s Babies/Facebook

Meeting Kathie

But then there was one more — Rennie lives in Maple Ridge and Keall didn’t want to leave without meeting her.

They have the same blue eyes, the same shape, same cheek bones, the same mouth and they’re around the same height.

“We met and it was the same, I don’t even know how you can say really but it was the same kind of intuition. Same kind of natural ‘I get you’ type stuff,” she said.

On June 16, they submitted a DNA test and last week Keall opened up the results from the second DNA test which confirmed that they are 99.96 half-sisters.

The search continues

There was a similar case in California, where a woman abandoned three children and they all eventually found each other and then the mother. Their story aired on ABC News on May 6.

The story of Prince Rupert’s three abandoned babies reuniting more than 35 years later, anything is possible and the story may continue to unfold. Keall said if her mother is still around, she’s hoping someone will come forward for her.

“We’re going to keep searching. The RCMP have made a statement that they’re investigating,” Keall said. “The three of us have all agreed that we want to find our biological mother.”

If anyone has any information about the three abandoned babies in the late 1970s, Keall asks that they visit her website Rupertsbaby.com where they can find her contact details.

Just Posted

Commerical marijuana grow ops that are budding up in Prince Rupert’s downtown core are legal and out of the city’s jurisdiction, Mayor Lee Brain said, on June 14. (Photo:supplied/K-J Millar)
Prince Rupert downtown’s pretty dope

Marijuana operations grow in the Prince Rupert city core

Unionized longshore and port workers gather along Highway 16 on June 15 not crossing the picket line where Prince Rupert Solidarity Movement group protests the docking and unloading of the JPO Volans, a ship with Israeli designed technology and equipment. (Photo: K-J Millar/the Northern View)
Prince Rupert Solidarity Group pickets at port in protest

Demonstrations against the container ship JPO Volans lead into the second day to dissuade docking

BC Ferries has announced the welcoming back onboard of recreational travellers on June 15 after the provincial travel restrictions were lifted. (Courtesy of BC Ferries)
BC Ferries welcomes back recreational passengers

The ferries corp will relax mask-wearing in outdoor spaces

Nic Pirillo received $1,000 Youth WORK Apprenticeship Award presented to him by Erik Brooke and Catlin Chandler of Broadwater Industries, in front of the boat Pirillo built in his free time using newly acquired skills. (Photo: supplied)
Learning and earning with apprenticeship

Nic Pirillo graduated in 2020 and was awarded the Youth WORK Trades award

According to the BC Centre of Disease Control epidemiology mapping from May 30 to June 5, there was an increase of one case in the Prince Rupert area after a three-week stability of no new cases. (Image: supplied BC CDC)
Prince Rupert second dose vaccination clinic to run from June 14 to July 9

Volunteers needed for P.R. immunization clinic, recipients must register and cases back up to one

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

COVID-related trash is washing up on shorelines across the world, including Coldstream’s Kal Beach, as pictured in this May 2021 photograph. (Jennifer Smith - Black Press)
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Most Read