Facebook video helps 3 sisters find homeless brother in Miami Beach

Woman's Facebook video helps police officer to make family reunion happen

By Derek Shore - Reporter, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Jerry Blake said being homeless was devastating at first, but he got used to it. 

For a while, he used the Internet at the Miami Beach Library to stay in touch with family. Someone took his library books. He couldn't pay for the late fees, and he was not able to access social media anymore. 

Blake is a survivor. 

"I guess I'm just tougher than the streets thank God," Blake said. 

Valerie Navarette, an advocate for the homeless in Miami Beach, regularly posts videos of the homeless community on Facebook. One of her videos prompted an unexpected family reunion. 

"No body looks at them, no body talks to them," Navarette said.  "And they're people, they have feelings, just like you and I."

They also sometimes have families who care and fear the worst.
Blake has three sisters who live in New Jersey. Regina Mazur said she was waiting for news from the morgue.  Blake's sister Laura Blake-Bloch had been in touch with Miami Beach police. 
"It was just the most helpless feeling knowing that someone that you love -- and that you never thought you'd ever see again -- could vanish," Blake-Bloch said. 

A Miami Beach police officer e-mailed them Navarette's video, and the sisters recognized his laughter. They flew to Miami Beach to be reunited with their brother. 

"It makes me feel like a million bucks," Blake said. "I got a loving family."

Copyright 2016 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.