Facebook Helps Hot Springs Man Find Biological Brother

HOT SPRINGS, AR — A Hot Springs man adopted at birth used social media to find his biological brother who he hadn’t seen in nearly 16 years.

Tracey Gray’s entire life was about time.

When the 21-year-old was born, both his parents were convicted for a murder case. At two-days-old, he was taken into foster care and adopted five years later.

On Monday afternoon in Pearcy, Gray sat in his adoptive parents’ living room flipping through his childhood photo album.

“It never really did say anything about a mom or a dad until later on,” he told reporter, Leah Uko.

Gray’s adoptive parents, Merwin and Thelma Gray, said they removed newspaper clippings from the day Gray’s parents were convicted. They wanted to explain his history when he got a little older.

Soon enough they did.

Gray said loved his adoptive parents and his adoptive siblings, but that was not enough to fill the void in his heart growing up. He said there were times he felt alone, misguided and lost and said the reason was, in large part, because he never met his younger brother and was not close with his biological parents.

During his adolescence, he started using drugs and fell into depression. After finishing a 14-month rehab program, Gray pulled his life together. He got a job as local Best Buy and was quickly promoted to a manager position. He also started communicating with his biological mother, though not often.

But he still felt incomplete. He wanted to meet his brother. The only time he saw him, his brother was a newborn.

“I just want to be the big brother that I never had,” he said.

Not getting much help or cooperation from his mother who said she had lost contact with her son’s adoptive parents years ago, Gray contacted the Department of Human Services. Officials told him because his brother, Shane Rollek, was 15 years old, they could not legally give him Rollek’s contact information.

“So I just stepped out on a limb. Put a sharply to paper and took a photo and took a leap.”

His leap quickly circulated on the web Monday. In a few hours, thousands had shared Gray’s picture of him holding a poster board that stated Gray’s name and that he lived in Hot Springs. He explained he was “separated by DHS” from his brother before he was adopted. Gray stated his brother’s name was “Shane Austin Rollek”, which he later found out from his biological mother, Ashley Rollek, that his name was “Shaun”.

At the bottom of the poster board, Gray wrote:

“He’s 16 years old and lives somewhere in Texas. Please help me find my brother!! (Please Share)”

By early Monday evening, Gray continued to refresh his Facebook profile. He had dozens of messages from people claiming to know his brother, but nothing concrete.

“I guess now the biggest thing is just patience.”

Patience served Gray right by Monday night around 10.

Gray got a phone call from his brother’s adoptive mother who informed him they changed Shaun’s name to “Austin Kevin Beral”. The siblings got to speak on the phone.

Gray got a picture of his brother, which he sent to Uko and wrote, “This is amazing….12 hours is all it took.”

Leah Uko contributed to this report. To follow story coverage with Leah Uko on Facebook click here. To follow story updates with Leah Uko on Twitter click here.

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