Magazine article Newsweek

Coming to America: The Real Story Behind a Honduran Boy's Tall Tale

Magazine article Newsweek

Coming to America: The Real Story Behind a Honduran Boy's Tall Tale

Article excerpt

Throw a cute dog into the mix and you've got the makings of an awesome summer adventure movie for the PG-13 set--the saga of a destitute but plucky Honduran boy, only 13, whose mother and younger brother die in a hurricane and who somehow makes his way 3,200 miles through Mexico and the United States to look for his long-lost father. Alone and penniless, the boy rides the rails to Miami, then panhandles the money to buy a bus ticket to New York City. He gets there, but his father doesn't show up. A kindly cabbie takes him home and calls the police the next day: the boy becomes an instant celebrity, and the city takes him to its heart.

The truth is more complicated, but no less compelling. In real life the lad, whose name is Edwin Daniel Sabillon, made a few things up. His mother is alive and well and living in Honduras. So is his grandmother. His father, Grevis Sabillon, died last year--from AIDS, not a hurricane. The boy has relatives in Hialeah, Fla., and for about two months this year, Edwin lived with them. But when they insisted he had to go to summer school, he lit out for New York--where, last week, he wowed cabdriver Jose Basora, the cops of the 43d Precinct and the news media. "The women officers at the station house wanted to take him home," one detective says. So did hundreds of New Yorkers, who flooded the phones with adoption offers.

His story fell apart about 24 hours later, when New York cops reached his relatives in Florida. Now, his Aunt Aurora says, "I can't have him in my house--I'm afraid that he will leave again. …

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