How One Woman's Search for Her Homeless Mother Became a Mission to Help Others

29 min
One of numerous posters Robin Burton has drawn up over the years in the search for her mother, believed to be homeless somewhere in California. (Courtesy of Robin Burton)

Listen to this and more in-depth storytelling by subscribing to The California Report Magazine podcast.

Growing up, Robin Burton didn’t really know much about her mother, Cloudia Leslie Wells. It wasn't until she was an adult that she learned her mom had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

"I thought that she was living the life of the rich and famous, and didn't have time for me. That was so far from the truth," she said.

But then in her 20s, Burton lost her mom for good. First, her grandparents, who had raised her, died and then her mom left again — and never came back.

As the years wore on, Burton hired a private investigator to find Cloudia. The search ultimately led Burton to start a Facebook group, called Missing & Homeless, for other people looking for their loved ones too. It now has 63,000 members, who work together when the system fails them.

We revisit Rachael Myrow's story from earlier this year about Robin Burton, her mother and the search it led her on.