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Son's NBCLA interview helps family find mom missing in Maui wildfires

A woman who was reported missing in the deadly Maui wildfire has reconnected with her Southern California family – thanks to an interview her son did with NBCLA.

In the days after flames tore through the historic community of Lahaina, Yvonne Weldon had very little idea what the outside world was seeing of her adopted hometown. Thus far, 115 people have been confirmed dead in the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century.  

“Not in our wildest dreams did we think there would be fireballs that would blow the fire down into Lahaina town,” Weldon said.

Her home, just north of Lahaina, was spared but physically and electronically cut off from the world.

“We were totally in the dark – literally no electricity, no phone service, no nothing,” Weldon recalled.

Meanwhile, the interview her son did with NBC4 was spreading across the country. In the interview, Jason Gateas vowed to board a plane and search for his mother if he continued not hearing from her.

 The interview made it back to televisions north of Maui, where Weldon’s friend happened to be watching NBC Nightly News.

“She drove over here and knocked on my door and said, ‘I just saw your son on national TV showing tow pictures of you, looking for you,’” Welson said.

It wasn’t so much that Weldon didn’t know how bad things were; it’s just that she didn’t know how much people on the mainland were hearing. So, she didn’t realize her loved ones in Southern California were worried sick.

She got to a hotel and called her son that day.

“It just broke my heart the pain he went through all those days, not hearing from me all those days,” Weldon said.

Weldon added that she’s homesick and can’t wait to get back to the South Bay. She flies out next week.

She’s looking to move home to Southern California for good. She added that it’s still difficult to talk about what she and her friends and neighbors endured and have lost in Maui, but she’s thankful to those who have been concerned about the people on the island.

“To all those people who were concerned, I’m sending all my love out to all of you, to every single one of you,” Weldon said. “It means more to us here than you’ll ever know.”

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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