The baby in a box: How a Jacksonville man found his family

Man finds family after decades

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After decades of searching, a local Jacksonville man has finally found the family he never knew existed.

This story dates back to the 1980s with a shocking plot twist.

Right now, Steven Flowe lives in Jacksonville. His parents, Joyce and Steven Flowe Sr. raised him in Charlotte, North Carolina. Despite having a great childhood, Steven Jr. felt like a piece of him was missing.

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“Learning from my cousin that I was adopted started the curiosity,” Steven Flowe Jr., said. “I was desperately looking, you know, asking anybody, ‘Hey I was born in this area do you know’ and I told my story.”

His story started back in 1984, when a baby was found in a cardboard box on the porch of a dry cleaners in Charlotte.

The original broadcast report from our sister station, WSOC in Charlotte, explains that an employee saw a box with a big splotch of blood on top of it.

“I eased the sheet back and I saw the baby’s head,” a man said in that report.”

The baby was Steven Jr.

His story was all over the news and in newspapers too.

“It was ten days later that we picked him up and brought him home.” Joyce Flowe, Steven’s adoptive mother, said. “He's been with ever since.”

The Flowes were trying to have children, and Steven was their miracle child.

“From the first moment I looked at him and I believe I saw his eyes and he made eye contact with me, I said ‘This is my son,’ and it’s been that way ever since,” Steven Flowe Sr. said.

As Steven Jr. got older, he had questions about where he came from. He even took to the local newspaper to find his biological family.

“I think it’s my personality -- that I just have to know. I have to know the answer,” Steven Flowe, Jr. said.

His questions remained unanswered for decades. Steven moved to Jacksonville with his wife and created their own family. It wasn’t until September 2019 that his curiosity re-lit a fire inside of him, and he decided to take a DNA test. His expectations were low.

“I got my results back and it showed that I had a half sibling,” Steven Jr. said. “I was like ‘Whoa wait a minute.’ I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting a fifth or sixth cousin but not a sibling.“

Soon after Steven Jr. got his results, Karen Perry got a Twitter message saying “we may be related.”

“He sent me a picture.” Perry said. “I was like, ‘oh my God he looks like me and my family.’“ That wasn’t even the craziest part. “He told me he lived in Jacksonville. I said I live in Jacksonville.”

The two lived less than a mile apart from each other in the Bartram Park community—just a quick four minute drive down the road.

Despite being separated for decades, it was as if the two knew each other forever.

“When I saw him in person, I felt that I knew that this was my brother,” Perry said. “I knew it was my brother.”

“When I hugged her, it was just like everything went away, and it was like this is my sister," Steven Jr. said.

Perry eventually led Steven Jr. to his biological mother, who he said he has forgiven.

“She knew that she needed ... that I needed to be with another family.” Steven Jr. said. “I needed to be with another family.”

His family has finally come full circle.