GREENSBORO, N.C. -- All he has is a photo – one photo.
“That's going to be Yuri in the middle, that's my brother, Jesse, and that's me,” says James Mattson, somewhat wistfully.
The photo is from about 12 or 15 years ago, when his church in Roxboro brought a few dozen kids who were affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster here for the summer so they could get at least a few months away from the radiation fallout.
His family hosted Yuri Borovikov for five consecutive summers.
“He immediately latched on to my parents and all of us,” Mattson said. “He referred to my parents as his parents and referred to us as his brother and sister.”
So much so, in fact, that they tried to make the move permanent.
“He was always very, very sad when it came time for to him to leave,” Mattson said. “They tried to adopt him but I believe there was some diplomatic problem and they didn't want to have adoptions then.”
James was determined to find Borovikov now that they’re both adults. He posted that picture on Facebook and asked for help.
“It was overwhelming. It was shared I believe over 100 times,” he says.
But no sign of Borovikov, yet.
So FOX8 took what little information Mattson had to a top-notch private investigator, Ed Cobbler.
“I try to stay positive, all the time,” Cobbler said. “But when you're dealing with other countries, very difficult, especially with limited information.”
To say what Mattson has is limited is to be as positive as you can get. Cobbler has found people all over the world.
“If a person's living in a cave, we probably can't find them,” he said. “But, if they're not -- if they're existing and moving around and have certain accounts -- if a person is somewhat seasoned and they've been out there, they have a job, they have a utility bill -- usually, they can be found.”
See the picture of Borovikov and hear more about Mattson’s search for him in this edition of the Buckley Report.