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Genealogist helps to identify woman staying at shelter, locates family

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BATON ROUGE - Following a report last week, 2 On Your Side has been able to help positively identify a woman who could not confirm her name or remember where she came from. The woman had provided several names to a community outreach coordinator. It was a genetic genealogy specialist who saw the story and found her family.

Sandra Smith first met the woman in October and knew then she had to help.

"Her name is Brenda Lee Jones and she's from Little Rock, Arkansas," Smith said.

Smith called 2 On Your Side last week hoping that someone might recognize the woman. It was Shayna Landry who saw the story and helped connect the dots. Landry did her own digging as a genetic genealogy specialist, finding Brenda's family members and positively identified her.

"I was able to get in touch with her sister's daughter and her brother's daughter and they both confirmed she was their favorite Aunt Brenda," Landry said.

With that information, Smith is now able to help Brenda find a permanent place to live along with medical assistance. This isn't Smith's first time helping someone in need. She says everyone has a story that's worth hearing.

"You can't just look at these people as drug addicts, mental health patients. You got to understand, you don't know what their mind is on or what they've been through," Smith said.


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