A Man Finds a Photo of Himself on a Missing Person’s List and It Challenges Everything He Thought He Knew

By: Ronda Fuller | Last updated: Nov 18, 2023

Steve Carter, a New Jersey man, had grown up with no knowledge of his past. Adopted as an infant in Hawaii, he was raised comfortably in the Garden State. Despite this contentment, Steve’s curiosity about his life before adoption grew over time.

Driven by the desire to learn more about himself, Steve decided to take matters into his own hands and research online. Little did he expect what he would find – an artist’s impression of a missing person which changed his world forever.

Steve's Adoption Story - A Journey of Love and Discovery

When Steve Cater Sr. an Army officer and his wife Pat Carter were stationed on the island of Oahu, Hawaii in 1980, they sought a new addition to their family. Little did they know they would stumble upon three-and-a-half year old Tenzin Amea – an orphaned child living in foster care. From the moment their eyes met, As Pat told People magazine in 2012 “It was love at first sight”, it was clear that this special boy had found his forever home.


Source: Art Wager/Getty Images

The Carters didn’t just give Tenzin a roof over his head; they gave him unconditional love and stability – something he had been waiting for in foster care. They created a loving environment that allowed him to thrive and flourish into adulthood with all the opportunities anyone could ever dream of having at their fingertips.


Adopting a New Family Member: The Story of Tenzin Amea

On September 23, 1980, Steve and Pat welcomed home the newest addition to their family – Tenzin Amea. Records showed that this fair-haired infant had been in Hawaii’s care for 3 years prior to joining his new forever family. His mother Jane had been arrested when he was 5 months old and his father remained anonymous.


Source: Rosmarie Wirz/Getty Images

After finding out about him, Steve and Pat knew they wanted to give little Tenzin the life he deserved – surrounded by love and security in his own home with parents who would always be there for him no matter what. It was an emotional day as these two warm hearts opened up their arms wide open to welcome their son into the world!

A New Life 

Little Steve Jr.’s luck had finally changed! After being taken in by the Carter family, he was given a new name, William Steven Tenzin Carter, and began his life anew in southern New Jersey – an area of wealth and prosperity. 


Source: MBPROJEKT_Maciej_Bledowski/Getty Images

Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, Steve lived a joyous childhood full of sports games with friends from the neighborhood and fun-filled parties. His days were filled with laughter as he embraced this newfound blissful existence that destiny had blessed him with!

A Mysterious Hawaiian Heritage 

Steve had always been told he was of Hawaiian descent, but as an adult, he began to wonder if that were true. Even his family joked around about it, with his blonde hair, blue eyes and light complexion – not truly resembling those Polynesian descent.


Source: Rosmarie Wirz/Getty Images

Steve decided to embark on a journey in search of his true identity. He felt it was time to uncover the truth about who he really is and where does he come from. This quest could potentially change Steve’s life forever; only time will tell what answers lie at the end of this extraordinary search.

Uncovering the Mystery of Steve Jr's Origins

Steve Jr. was filled with anticipation when he opened his Christmas present and found a DNA testing kit inside! Could it contain clues about his ancestry? He set off on an exciting journey of self-discovery that would change his life forever.

Source: SusanGaryPhotography/Getty Images

The results were astonishing – Steve’s family tree could be traced back to Scandinavia, opening up a wealth of mysteries for him to explore. While many questions remained unanswered, this newfound knowledge enriched Steve’s understanding of himself, however, left him feeling uncertain about how successfull this journey was going to be. 


Uncovering His Family History - Steve's Inspiring Journey 

Steve was living his life without any knowledge of where he came from. But one day, an article about Carlina White changed everything for him. It told the story of a woman kidnapped from a hospital in Harlem raised by her abductor  with no idea that her real parents were just 45 minutes away. 

Source: peeterv/Getty Images

Reading this inspiring tale sparked something inside Steve; it reignited his appetite for uncovering his family history! Taking matters into his own hands, he set out to discover more about who he really is and where he comes from. Steve had taken on an incredible journey – all thanks to one extraordinary article!


Steve's Incredible Discovery

Steve had heard about the amazing opportunities provided by the internet for genealogy and tracking down long-lost relatives. With this in mind, he decided to visit missingkids.com, an online resource operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children thart Carlina mentined. 

Source: CNN/YouTube

After scrolling through several entries on the site, something caught Steve’s eye that would change his world forever; under an entry for a missing boy was information that led him to consider if there might be a connection between them! 


A Chilling Discovery - The Story of Marx Panama Moriarty Barnes 

Steve was stunned when he saw a listing for a lost child called Marx Panama Moriarty Barnes, who had been missing since June 1977. But what amped up his shock was the artist’s impression that accompanied the entry 

Source: CBS News

It was as if steve was looking right at himself in the mirror, it looked exactly like him! Steve couldn’t believe his eyes, as he later told People in 2012, “I got chills and I thought to myself ‘It’s me!'”


The Shocking Story of a Lost Son

Steve was utterly shocked to find out about this. With no hesitation, he contacted the authorities and offered his DNA for testing. After a long eight months, the results finally arrived confirming that Steve and Marx were indeed one in the same person! 

Source: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images News/Getty Images

His wife Tracey encouraged him to go on an investigative journey into his past – something which would reveal a heartbreaking story. As Steve faced this brave new world with courage, it became clear that discovering his true identity is no easy feat.


Baby Marx Lost - A Shocking Mystery Unfolds! 

On June 21, 1977, a seemingly ordinary day quickly became an unforgettable one for Mark Barnes and his girlfriend Charlotte Moriarty. As Mark worked in his garden at home in Hau’ula, Charlotte decided to take their baby son Marx on a stroll to the local grocery store.

Source: Rosmarie Wirz/Getty Images

Little did they know that Marx’s walk with his Mommy was just the start of something else completely; soon enough, soon enough something would happened that would change the course of their lives forever.


A Father's Search for His Lost Son 

Mark waited anxiously for his girlfriend, Charlotte, and their infant son to return. Although he initially was not overly concerned as he had described her as a “free spirit” who had taken extended flights before.

Source: Andrei Daniel Ticlean/EyeEm via Getty Images

Things changed when there was still no sign of the two after that time frame. With worry setting in, Mark contacted the police but even they were unable to locate any clues – leaving Mark in limbo desperate to find his family.


Mark’s Search Continues 

For more than a year, Mark tirelessly combed the streets of Hawaii in search of his missing family. Despite time passing and hope waning, he never gave up on reuniting with his son. 

Source: Shanina/Getty Images

Little did he know that Marx had been living far away; under a new identity and with an entirely different family. An unfaltering father’s journey to find his beloved child was finally rewarded after all this time – what an incredible story!


Mystery Guests at Home - Charlotte and Marx 

Mystery surrounded the disappearance of Charlotte and her infant son, Marx, in Oahu’s summer of ’77. However, one woman on the other side of Oahu was met with an unexpected surprise when she returned home that day. 

Source: Riccardo Cirillo/Getty Images

Astonishingly enough, it appeared as though Charlotte had managed to gain access to her property and was there along with baby Marx! Understandably perturbed by this situation, the homeowner quickly contacted the police for assistance. Could this be a clue leading up to their mysterious vanishing?


The Story of Charlotte and Tenzin Amea

Heartbreakingly, Charlotte had deceived the authorities when they arrived and questioned her, giving them false names for herself and her baby – Jane and Tenzin Amea. 

Source: Jaymast/Getty Images

This meant that by the time Mark was reported missing, three weeks later, Hawaii police were unable to connect the dots between him and his son. Unbeknownst to him at the time, his little boy had already fallen throw the cracks and dissapread into thin air. But despite all odds, he never stopped looking


A Family Torn Apart - The Unfortunate Tale of Charlotte and Marx 

Marx’s life was filled with tragedy and heartbreak from an early age. His mother, Charlotte, suffered from mental health issues which resulted in her being taken to a psychiatric facility, leaving Marx alone in the states custody.

Source: Bettmann/Getty Images

Despite living only 30 miles away in an orphanage, Marx never had the chance to meet his biological father as Charlotte disappeared shortly after she checked herself out of hospital. This cruel twist of fate meant that Marx ended up growing up in an orphanage with no knowledge about where he truly came from or who his parents were.


A Sister's Determination Unlocks a Clue 

Mark was left wondering about his son Marx’s fate and continued to search for him. However, he was not the only determined to find an answer. It was Jennifer, Mark’s half-sister who was eight years older than him, who would not give up hope.

Source: Eternallifestyle

In 2001 she convinced the Hawaiian authorities to reopen the case for investigation. An artist made a sketch of what Marx might look like as of then – this very picture unlocked all the secrets that Steve had unknowingly been searching for!


Reunited After 30 Years of Separation 

After more than three decades apart, Steve had finally uncovered the truth about his biological family. Though initially terrified to reach out, he eventually mustered up the courage to make contact with Jennifer – his long-lost auntie. 

Source: CNN/YouTube

Then came a heartfelt phone call between Steve and Mark – his biological father living in California – an unforgettable moment that left them both speechless with emotion. Mark recalled, “All I could say was, ‘Wow. Oh wow. Wow.’

After more than three decades, the truth was uncovered. Steve was terrified to reconnect with his relatives, People reports that after months of waiting he finally called Jennifer and then his biological father in California and all he could say on the call was “Wow. Oh wow. Wow.” 


A Journey of Acceptance: The Carter Family Story 

For the Carters of New Jersey, it was a difficult journey after Steve Jr. informed them off his existence as both Marx and Tenzin. Initially, Pat confessed that she felt like they were taking someone else’s child. However, over time they came to terms with this new situation and embraced it wholeheartedly. 

Source: Dean Mitchell/Getty Images

In 2012 Mrs Carter shared her feelings on The View saying “It’s taken a while for us to get used to the idea that we have to share him but I’m sure it’s going to be wonderful.” Their story is an inspiring one – showing strength in acceptance no matter how tough the circumstances may be!


The Inspiring Story of the Carter Clan In 2012

After being apart for decades, the Carter family experienced tremendous joy after finally uncovering the trusth reunion, although they were yet to reuunite in person in 2012. There has been no further news coverage since then. However, we are sure they are undoubtedly thankful that their story ended happily. 

Source: Youtube

Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky to have such an uplifting ending to their family saga. Nevertheless, this remarkable tale stands as a testament to the power of love – even after all those years apart!