DNA test links woman to biological father and 7 half-siblings
Tracy Melton submitted her DNA sample to Ancestry.com uncovered a family secret.
When Tracy Melton submitted her DNA sample to Ancestry.com she was only expecting to gain some insight into her ethnic background.
A year after her dad, Rich Melton, took the same test and learned he had a 45-year-old son he never knew existed, DNA magic struck again.
Never in her wildest dreams did Tracy Melton expect to find a biological father and seven half-siblings she never knew she had. Adding to the stunning turn of events, she found out her biological father lived just 12 miles from her Spokane Valley, Washington, home.
"It's crazy," Tracy Melton told ABC News on Wednesday. "We just went through this a year ago. And now it's happened again."
Reynaldo Delgado, a retired Los Angeles firefighter, said he had no idea of Melton's existence until they spoke on the phone on Feb. 23 and she told him, "I think you're my father."
"From the moment we met, it was very comfortable," Melton, 35, told ABC News station KXLY-TV in Spokane. "It felt very natural. It's very hard to explain. I never knew something was missing."
Delgado recalled asking Melton where she lived.
"She said 'Spokane.' I thought it was a joke," Delgado, 67, who has seven other children, told KXLY-TV. "As it turns out, she lives 12 miles from me. And, I never knew she existed."
Melton said her boyfriend gave her the Ancestry.com DNA kit as a Christmas gift. She found the prospects of the cheek-swab test intriguing, hoping it would explain why she has dark skin and hair and brown eyes while her two sisters were born blue-eyed and blonde.
Her mother never told her anything about her biological father, but her grandmother once gave her a photo of a man she suspected was her dad, but he died before she had a chance to meet him.
"What little information I was given was leading to a person who was no longer alive," Melton -- a mother of two children, ages 17 and 12 -- told ABC News.
She got the results that she says has changed her life in an email.
"We opened the email and we did the breakdown and it was really cool," said Melton, adding the results showed she is 39 percent British, 17 percent Western European and 27 percent Native American.
Toward the bottom of the email was a link to 673 relatives -- including Delgado, whom the email described as "your parent or child."
"It was freaky," Melton said. "I called the website and asked them to check my account because I thought I had been hacked and somebody was playing a sick joke on me."
Once she learned it was no joke, she contacted Delgado. They immediately agreed to meet.
"One of the first things he told me was, 'We have to have you over for dinner,'" Melton said.
Melton was born in Los Angeles, where Delgado had worked as a firefighter. Once he retired, Delgado and his wife, Camie, decided to move to Spokane three years ago.
Melton said she moved to Spokane with her family when she was 15.
"She walked in and she stuck her hand out to me," he said of meeting her. "And I looked at her and I started to [shake her hand]. Then, I said, 'You don't shake hands with your daughter!' So, we hugged. It was very emotional."
The father and daughter share almost identical dimples and both have strong chins. They learned they also have other things in common.
"We talk about things like what's our favorite ice cream and we both love vanilla bean," Delgado said. "We both love corned beef hash."
Melton said the relationship she and Delgado have forged "still feels very unreal."
"I cry almost every morning in the shower -- with excitement and joy," she told KXLY-TV. "I know a lot of people don't get this kind of outcome."
She said Rich Melton, the man who raised Tracy and whom she considers her father, has been extremely supportive of her budding relationship with Delgado, who also is a former Marine.
"He's so happy for and supportive of me. He's so loving," she said her father, Rich.
As Rich Melton has gotten to know the adult son he never knew existed until a year ago, he's also gotten to meet Delgado.
"It's strange, but a good strange because I know she's loved by him," Rich Melton said.
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