Dallas father finds missing homeless son thanks to San Antonio nonprofit

Because of a mutual Facebook friend, McLoughlin was able to reconnect with his son through the non-profit CAM

SAN ANTONIO – A Dallas father is celebrating the start of the new year with peace of mind knowing his adult son, who he has been trying to find for three years, is alive and in good care.

Mike McLoughlin is the father of James McLoughlin, 40.

“James started out like any other child,” Mike McLoughlin said. “He was a good kid until he got into some trouble in high school. Things progressed from there. He was a challenge as a young man.”

James McLoughlin was arrested and sent to prison in 2003.

“He spent 15 years there, and he got out of prison in 2018,” Mike McLoughlin said. “We were able to connect with him even though we were not notified that he was getting out. We ended up finding him in the Salvation Army in Dallas. Then, he went to live with his sister in Kerrville.”

McLoughlin said that was also a challenge. He said everything changed one day.

“He just disappeared one day,” Mike McLoughlin said. “He just left. We lost touch with him, and he didn’t try to contact us. It was very stressful in the beginning because we didn’t know where to turn. We filed missing persons reports during the three years he was gone. I hired people to find him, but nothing worked.”

That’s when Mike McLoughlin said he took to Facebook in a desperate attempt to find is son,

“Earlier (in 2021), I made a post,” he said. “I just had a moment in time where I said, ‘I have tried everything else. Let me try sharing to Facebook.’ A very good friend of mine read my post and reposted it on his newsfeed.”

McLoughlin was then connected to the Christian Assistance Ministry in San Antonio.

“I was randomly scrolling around on Facebook, and I was going to wish my old college friend a Happy Birthday,” said Dawn White-Fosdick, the president of the nonprofit. “That friend was someone I hadn’t seen in like 15 years. I looked on his page and saw this story from a father that said, ‘I normally never post anything like this on Facebook. It is very personal, but I have not been able to find my adult son for the past three years.’”

White-Fosdick reached out to her staff, who immediately recognized James McLoughlin.

“I was in shock because we see (James) every day,” White-Fosdick said. “He comes to our place to get food and clothing. He takes his showers. He is a regular.”

She said she couldn’t help but think this was a blessing from God.

“Why would I be on my friend’s page and to see this message from Mike and to even go through the effort to read it?” White-Fosdick said. “We have all seen missing people on social media. It was a God thing, especially when several of my staff members knew him very well. I knew this was not a mistake. We were meant to reconnect them, and we were meant to know what James’ story was.”

James also has a mental illness that makes it challenging to communicate with others.

White-Fosdick connected with Mike McLoughlin after she realized James was his son.

“‘We know where your son is,’” White Fosdick said told Mike McLoughlin. “‘He is safe. He is on the streets, and I think he suffers from some mental health issues, but he is well cared for.’”

“I got to be honest with you,” Mike McLoughlin said. “I was in tears when I got the call. I am feeling a bit emotional now. I call it a God moment --the whole thing, the way it transpired. I think God had a hand in it.”

The father and son got a chance to meet in person around Thanksgiving.

“I brought him over and said, ‘James. Your dad is here to see you,’ and he received it,” White-Fosdick said. “He was able to talk to him a little while, and it was a lovely exchange.”

“I got to hold him and tell him I love him,” Mike McLoughlin said. “I get emotional just thinking about it. It was a really great moment.”

James and Mike McLoughlin now communicate, but James prefers to write letters by mail.

“I take things one day at a time,” Mike McLoughlin said. “And the fact that he continues to communicate puts me in a good place right now, and I hope it puts him in a good place, and we will see where it goes from there.”

White-Fosdick said this reunion also raises awareness about the resources available to families dealing with homelessness.

“I think what this exemplifies is serving a population that is traumatized and struggling,” she said. “You have to be with them and to know (about) them daily. I want the community to know their issues are complicated, but there are organizations like this that are working daily to live with and be by them and to know when something changes. We have a chance to serve and meet their needs. We believe situations like James’ will take a long time, but we will continue to build a relationship in order to give him a better opportunity in life.”

At this time, James McLoughlin still chooses to be homeless, but his father said he’ll be there whenever his son decides differently.

“This just says to me, ‘Don’t give up,’” Mike McLoughlin said. “Don’t give up hope. You don’t know what things might do or could change circumstances for the better.”

About the Authors

Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.

Recommended Videos