Woman Just Learns Her Son Died on Pan Am 103

Search for child she gave up for adoption has heartbreaking end

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 16, 2013 3:34 AM CST | Updated Dec 16, 2013 7:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Heartbreak for an Oregon woman who gave up her son for adoption 45 years ago: She decided to track him down after her husband's death last year, only to learn that he was among hundreds of people killed when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, a BBC documentary finds. "270 people died in that tragedy and one of those happened to be the only child I ever had. And I didn’t even know it until last April," Carol King-Eckersley says. "So it became a kind of double tragedy. I found him and I lost him on the same day."

Her son, Kenneth Bissett, had been on the way home from Syracuse University's overseas program in London. His adoptive parents both died years after the terrorist attack. "I'm just starting to get to know him," says the grieving birth mother, who gave up her son at 19 to protect the reputation of her father, a high school principal. "In a way I'm going backwards because the getting to know him makes it sharper, makes the regret deeper." But she found some solace in attending a remembrance event at Syracuse, which lost 35 students in the attack, and in meeting friends and classmates who could share memories of her son. "From everything I have heard and read, he was an absolutely brilliant young man with a marvelous sense of humor," she says. (Click to read about an adoption story with a happier ending.)

Part of the wreckage of the Boeing 747 that was Pan Am Flight 103, and which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, with the loss of 270 lives.   (AP Photo/Anna Gowthorpe-pa)
Police and investigators look at what remains of the flight deck of Pan Am 103 on a field in Lockerbie, Scotland in this December 1988.   (AP Photo/File)
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