By Mika Miyashima, October 23, 2017 (KITV)
A man that his family declares has been missing for nearly 25 years has been found living in Hawaii.
Leon Bowen, 47, was identified by his family in Oregon after he was found living under the Roosevelt Bridge by the Valoha Giving Movement group that helps the homeless. The group has been feeding Bowen on a weekly basis.
Leon’s been there so long, a young Bruno Mars used to come feed him.
Ten months ago, Valoha’s founder, Christina Bush, noticed a post from Leon’s niece on the Stolen Stuff Hawaii Facebook page.
“She said we’re looking for my uncle. This is a long shot, this is a 25-year-old picture, and immediately when I saw the picture I knew it was Leon.” explained Bush.
Leon’s family lost track of him when he moved to Hawaii over two decades ago. They said drugs eventually got the best of him, ultimately causing his wife and two daughters to leave.
The family says they’ve been searching for him ever since. The search included hiring a private investigator and several false leads. Social media and a tattoo took the search to a whole new level.
“”A lot of people were saying, oh we know where your uncle is and I’m like let me see the tattoo. They didn’t confirm the tattoo until Christina showed me it.” explained Leon’s niece, Elizabeth Roberts.
The families first glimpse of Leon was overwhelming.
“I didn’t believe it until Sis brought me the camera and she says, mom look this is Leon. My heart dropped you know. That was my baby.” said Leon’s mother, Margaret Bowen.
Valoha is currently in the running to win a $35,000 prize in the L’Oreal cosmetics’ “Women of Worth” contest. If Bush wins, she hopes to use that money to fly Bowen’s family out to see him, because they can’t afford to otherwise.
“”I’ve wondered over the years whether my son is alive. I’d give anything just to walk up and say Leon, I’m here. I love you.” said Bowen.
If you’re interested in helping the family reunite with Leon, you can donate to Valoha Giving Movement’s Paypal: Valohagivingmovement@gmail.com. All money will go directly to the family.