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Hope of finding grown daughter brings Missouri man to Nashville

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  • Hope of finding grown daughter brings Missouri man to Nashville

    Hope of finding grown daughter brings Missouri man to Nashville

    Staff Writer

    Don Woodson's daughter had the right number but the wrong time. He hung up
    without realizing to whom he was talking.

    He's confident, however, that his current visit to Nashville will end his
    1½-year search for her — and her apparent search for him.

    That morning in July 2002, Woodson was recovering at his Troy, Mo., home from
    heart bypass surgery.

    Through the painkillers he thought someone was calling from a pharmacy or
    hospital. The woman told him she had two daughters and wanted medical

    ''Where are you calling from?'' he recalled asking several times.

    Through her thick Southern drawl, all he came away with was something-ville,
    maybe Asheville. And that it was about 200 miles from Memphis. Or Little Rock.

    For a while he thought it might be Fayetteville, Ark., but his efforts there
    bore no fruit. He drove down busy College Avenue, the huge signs on his truck
    reading: ''DON WOODSON SEARCHING FOR DAUGHTER 636-734-6042.'' He parked in
    high-traffic areas hoping someone would see it and get word to the little girl
    who he says his first wife put up for adoption before he ever saw the girl.

    Today, the 60-year-old retired St. Louis Teamsters president is convinced the
    woman, who identified herself as the daughter of Catherine, his first wife's
    name, said ''Nashville.''

    ''She never said a state,'' he said in a phone interview from his hotel
    yesterday. ''Everyone knows where Nashville is.'' He thinks that if it had been
    one of the many Ashevilles or Fayettevilles, she would have identified the

    ''At the end of the conversation, I asked if there was anything else and she
    sounded disappointed when she said, 'No.' How couldn't I have put that
    together?'' He also wishes he had known about star 69, which dials the last
    person who's called.

    ''The next day I had Caller ID installed,'' he said. But she never called back,
    never said her name. Officials told him he couldn't get access to the phone
    records unless a crime had been committed.

    Woodson has spent thousands of dollars trying to find his daughter, now 39. For
    more than a year, he sought his ex-wife, who he assumed had remarried. He sent
    letters to women around the country with his ex-wife's first name and who were
    her age. One of the letter recipients contacted police in Rhode Island, who got
    in touch with police in Troy. He wrote back asking for information and included
    a letter to his daughter, but never heard back.

    He thinks the daughter may not know exactly who her mother is.

    ''I got here yesterday and set up on the highway about 2 p.m.,'' he said.
    ''Then I moved to another location off of (Interstate) 40 and 24.'' He plans to
    stay till next Saturday, when he will go home briefly, then return.

    Woodson asked some details of his phone conversation with his daughter be
    withheld to distinguish the call he's waiting for from hoaxes.

    A good friend will come and bail you out of jail . . . but, a true friend will
    be sitting next to you saying, "**** . . . that was fun!"
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