It’s been 36 years since Amanda Jones was found as a baby in a dumpster, placed naked in a cardboard box and left in frigid 30-degree weather.
“My cord had been cut and tied off with a shoestring,” Jones told Oxygen.com.
But now, more than three decades later, Jones is hoping to find the person — or people — who rescued her that cold night in January 1983 and ultimately saved the newborn’s life.
“I would love for them to know how thankful my family and I are for their actions,” she said.
Jones, a mother of three, has taken her quest to social media, posting a plea on Facebook to try to track down her rescuers.
“Hi! My name is Amanda Jones. I am trying to find the person/people who potentially saved my life,” she wrote in the post. “I was abandoned as an infant at the Prado Business Mall at 5600 Roswell Rd (in Atlanta/Sandy Springs, GA) in January of 1983."
She is hoping that by finding the person who found her that night, she’ll not only be able to offer her gratitude but will also discover more about her own past.
“For me, finding the person who rescued me will help me to learn more details about how I was found,” she said. “My parents were never told a full story by Child Services, and for me, this story is part of me.”
The information Jones does know about that night is sparse. She was discovered either in or beside a dumpster at the Prado Mall in January 1983, naked and covered in afterbirth.
Detectives believe she was likely discovered just hours after she had been born and have told her that it was “questionable” that she would survive.
She was taken to the hospital and was initially known in the media as baby “Jan Winter.”
“After I left the hospital, I became a ward of the state,” Jones said. “I went into my first foster home and about four months later my parents took me on as a foster, and my adoption was finalized a little over a year later.”
Jones went on to have a happy childhood with her parents and an older sister, who was also adopted by the family.
She has always known she was adopted, but didn’t discover the unique story behind her birth until she got older, she said.
Jones had never considered doing a DNA test to find her birth family until a relative gave her a 23andMe ancestry kit earlier this year. The kit has helped Jones identify cousins, a great-aunt, and even the people she believes to be her birth parents, according to ABC News.
However, Jones told Oxygen.com that when she reached out to her birth parents, she didn’t get a welcoming response.
She sent a letter to her birth father and never received a response back. She did get in touch with the woman she believes is her birth mother, but said the conversation didn’t go well.
“She sounded like she had heard the voice of a ghost,” she said. “She lied in circles and ended up hanging up on me. Her nephew has done a DNA test for me and it is confirmed he is a first cousin, so I know she is, in fact, my biological mother.”
Jones admits the rejection a second time has left her with conflicting feelings about her biological parents.
“I have always been forgiving, but I am also human and yearn for acknowledgement, a sorry, family medical information,” she said. “With that being said, I feel as though it is cowardly when given a chance to make this right, they have not.”
Now as a mother herself, Jones said she still hopes to offer her mother forgiveness for her actions.
“I still want to offer forgiveness because without her decisions, I would not be a mother,” she said. “Everything happens for a reason.”
She has let go of the anger long ago and believes the burden her biological mother has felt over the last 36 years knowing the decision she made that chilly night is “punishment enough” for Jones.
“I never had issues with abandonment at all, but through my DNA search I have experienced rejection, which I feel makes the initial abandonment that much harder,” she said. “You never realize as an adoptee you are opening Pandora’s Box when you begin to search for biological family. People have secrets they have held onto for many years, and when their secrets begin to come out, they retreat.”
Jones is now hoping to turn her focus to the rescuers who found her that night. She hopes that by finding the unsung heroes who saved her, she can let them know just how well her life turned out.
“My life today is wonderful,” she told Oxygen.com. “I have three beautiful children and a husband who has shown me what unconditional love is all about. As he would like to say, ‘We are living the dream.’”
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.