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Shelley Osterloh ReportingTwo half sisters have finally been reunited after more than 40 years of searching for one another. Their lives were both fractured by two bitter divorces, and now they are trying to locate other missing siblings.
Forty-three years ago Roberta Bugher Buxman and her half sister, Aneita Michaelson met each other just once, for 15 minutes, then lost contact. After years of Internet searches, 64-year old Roberta started calling people around the country with the name Woodman. On the second call, she found Aneita's brother.
This week Roberta traveled from Prior, Oklahoma to Salt Lake City, to see her long lost half sister because she believes family connections are important.
Roberta Buxman: "I just have not had this and I want a family.”
Their father, Frank Woodman, divorced Roberta's mother and after a second failed marriage, married Aneita's mother. She says he was nice to her and brother, some of the time.
Aneita Michaelson: “At other times he was very violent and not a very nice person, so he just kind of, like in a lot of dysfunctional families, went between the two personalities."
Roberta remembers only meeting him once when he tried to get custody of her.
Roberta Buxman: "he lost the case and as he walked out the door, he stepped on my foot and looked the other way. I was ten; the only thing I ever knew of my dad."
In all, Frank Woodman had ten children from five marriages. Roberta and Aneita have managed to track down all of their siblings, but one. Annabelle Woodman was born in Wichita, Kansas to Frank's second wife. She would be 61or 62 years old now. The last time they saw her was 1976 when she left Tulsa.
Roberta Buxman: "We both knew her. It's just important that we have a relationship of all of us."
Their search has taken them to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints genealogy library. They say they have missed knowing and sharing life with their siblings and they hope divorcing parents will take heed.
Aneita Michaelson: "They totally forget how important it is even half brothers and sisters to stay in touch and have relationships and grow together."
Now as adults the children of Frank Woodman hope to repair their fractured family and make up for lost time. They're planning a family reunion next summer and hope even Annabelle will be there.