Long lost family found through DNA test

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Family pictures line the walls of Sandy Collins' house. With four kids and 12 grand-kids, her family was complete. Even though she was adopted at the age of 3, she never wondered about her birth parents.

"I never looked so you can't miss what you don't have. This is my life. I was adopted by a really good mom," said Collins.

But an Ancestry DNA test changed all that.

"I just thought it would be fun to see what my heritage was, and I didn't even realize I think that you could look at DNA matches or anything," she said.

Then she started getting messages from Tony Stout.

"I sent messages to everybody that was first, second cousins and better and told them my story, and I was looking for my birth father," said Stout.

Collins dismissed the emails. At least a year passed before she finally responded.

"I'm looking for my birth father and it looks like we're closely related. And I sent back a message well I don't know my birth father and I don't know my birth mother and I don't know anything so I can't help you," Collins said she responded.

Stout now lives in Virginia, but grew up in Louisville and southern Indiana, the third of seven kids. It wasn't until he was 16 that what he thought he knew changed.

"My mom and dad sat me down," said Stout. "And they said we have to tell you something. Your dad is not your real dad."

It wasn't until both his parents passed that Stout decided to finally look for his birth father.

"At some point you always get tired of hearing those questions from the doctor tell me about your family history. Well, I can tell you half," he said.

He too took an Ancestry DNA test, which lead him to Collins and a name.

"I came down to Donald Puckett Jr. had to be my biological father," said Stout.

That's the man who raised Sherry Cox of Washington state. "I had no clue," said Cox who grew up in Radcliff.

She too was just looking to find her heritage. Instead, she found out she wasn't just the baby of three siblings, but of six.

"A lot of that stuff stayed hidden back then," said Cox.

Turns out, Donald Puckett Jr. fathered Sandy Collins, her brother Johnny and Tony Stout. Now spread out across the country, the three are united by one man, and were brought together by a DNA test.

"Imagine being 60 years old and finally knowing who you are. That's the hard part. It's that relief," said Stout.

A 23 and Me test confirmed the three are half siblings. But a picture is what finally convinced Collins.

"When she sent the picture of our father, that was when I knew it was real, because he looked just like my full brother," said Collins.

Puckett passed away about 12 years ago. After months of chatting online, the three finally met in person recently in Louisville. It was a meeting years in the making, now made possible thanks to technology and a desire to know who they are.

"I have to say the best thing is my siblings. It's the best thing that's come out of it for me," said Collins. "We've just connected. I guess it's in our genes."

As far as her heritage, Collins did discover she's mainly French and Swedish, never expecting to discover so much more.

"Since I was not looking, but I did get found, that's what I always say if you do not want to be found, do not get on Ancestry DNA or 23 and Me," said Collins.

Collins was also able to track down her birth mother. They met on Mother's Day weekend.

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