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Categories: Human Interest

Veteran Discovers He Has A Daughter He Never Knew About, Reunited 50 Years Later

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When you hear stories of lost or separated family members, there's often a lot of tragedy that comes with it. Some sort of injustice, failure, or fault on a system that neither party could control, especially if they were kids.

Sometimes, though, a story of a lost family member reuniting makes itself known, and sometimes all those stories bring are feelings of joy and peace, like one man who learned much later in life that he had a daughter.

Quite The Surprise

YouTube / CBS News Sacramento
YouTube / CBS News Sacramento

Gary Barnes, a Vietnam War veteran, was given a wonderful surprise back in 2017 when he learned an amazing secret about his life. He had a daughter.

Barnes was not aware that he had a daughter, as she was apparently conceived during his time in active service, and her mother never got to tell him the news. Now, they've reunited, sharing a moment of joy that neither could have expected.

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A Lost Connection

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YouTube / CBS News Sacramento
YouTube / CBS News Sacramento
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To understand this unexpected discovery, we need to travel back in time to 1966, when Barnes was a US Navy sailor serving in Vietnam. During his downtime, he traveled to the Philippines, where he met a woman named Filapina. The two hit it off, but they didn't keep in touch after he was called back to duty.

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"I never even knew she was pregnant," Barnes later told WTSP.

Following his military service, Barnes returned to the United States and married a woman named Caryl. The two eventually settled in Grass Valley, California. They never had any children of their own.

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Not Who She Thought

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YouTube / CBS News Sacramento
YouTube / CBS News Sacramento
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While Barnes was living his life with Caryl, Filapina was raising a young daughter named Olivia Robles. The child was born in the Philippines in 1967 and relocated with her family to the US when she was six years old.

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Her family seemed like any other – that is until Robles learned something just four years later. As it turns out, the man she believed to be her biological father was, in fact, her stepfather.

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Looking For Answers

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YouTube / CBS News Sacramento
YouTube / CBS News Sacramento
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In 2014, Robles decided to submit a sample of her DNA to Ancestry.com. Not long after, she was notified that a match had been made with a woman in Alabama named Diana. Her relation? She was Barnes' cousin and, just a few months earlier, had submitted her own DNA to the same website as Robles.

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Robles reached out to Diana, who was able to shed some light on the identity of her father. She revealed Barnes had spent time in the Philippines while serving in the Vietnam War and even sent Robles a photo of him. She was shocked. The man in the image looked almost identical to her youngest son.

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Making Sure

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YouTube / CBS News Sacramento
YouTube / CBS News Sacramento
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In 2017, now at 50 years old, Robles took the bold step of calling Barnes. To confirm their suspicions, he sent off a sample of his DNA and, to his surprise, it was a match. Speaking with The Union, Robles said, "It just all fell together, like that missing piece of the puzzle all my life. It was amazing."

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After their relationship was confirmed, the pair agreed to meet. It wasn't long before Barnes learned his new family extended past his daughter. He had three grandsons, all of whom have military backgrounds, and a great-grandson. Robles even reunited him with her mother.

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A Happy Ending

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YouTube / CBS News Sacramento
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The two started spending a lot of time together, and during their first vacation, Barnes got to see his grandson graduate from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Given his history, this was clearly an emotional moment for him, one he's so grateful he was able to see.

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Connections like this seem fantastical, straight out of a movie even, but this one is real, and it's beautiful. Robles eventually moved to California, where she worked very close to her father's home, able to spend even more time together later in both of their lives.

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Daniel Mitchell-Benoit

Dan is a content writer with three years of experience under their belt, having mostly covered viral media but now shifting toward spirituality and astrology. He's a strong believer in using one's beliefs as a means of self-improvement and being in touch with whatever messages the universe has to offer. He can't wait to share his insights with an audience who wants to foster change and betterment within themselves. Outside of writing, Dan enjoys reading tarot cards, playing video games, all things horror, coffee, and his cat!

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Daniel Mitchell-Benoit

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