08/07/2013 09:40 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Betty Lukich, Phoenix Woman, Is Reunited With Family Who Believed She Was Dead For 30 Years (VIDEO)

In 1981, Betty Lukich moved from Maine to Arizona after a messy divorce.

She left behind 12 siblings and four children, who eventually began believing that she had passed away.

But after more than 30 years, the Internet has reunited Lukich with her family, and Maine's Bangor Daily News reports that her 70th birthday this week will be spent at a family reunion with around 200 people.

When asked about her disappearance, Lukich told the Bangor Daily News, "I had to get away from it all."

She moved to Phoenix where she began work as a tractor-trailer driver and traveled the contiguous United States, ABC 15 reports.

When one of Lukich's brothers drunkenly told his sisters that he had buried Lukich in a marijuana field behind his house, they believed him.

“I was 12 the last time I saw her,” Lukich's daughter Donna Keniston, now 50, told the Bangor Daily News. “I thought she was dead."

Fortunately, Lukich was able to connect with cousins earlier this year, and those cousins put her in touch with her sisters and children.

When they learned Lukich was alive, her sister Mary Inman, 75, said, “We cried all day."

Last Sunday, the family reunited in person when Lukich flew to Maine for a month-long visit. Three of her sisters, her daughter, and other relatives met for a tearful reunion for the first time in three decades.

H/T: Bangor Daily News



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