EUREKA, Kansas (KSN) – It was a late Christmas gift for sisters Troy Whitaker and Tonya Kellett on New Year’s Day.
The sisters were reunited in Eureka after being separated in 1966.
In June 1966, their father took 4-year-old Tonya while Troy was only 18-months-old.
Their parents were going through a divorce which set off a whirlwind of events.
Whitaker said their father told the family Kellett had died. Another time, he told them she was crippled and in a home.
Kellett had been told her sister and mother had died in a car wreck.
Whitaker said many family members searched extensively over the years for her sister, but came up short as their father had changed her name and birthday and put her up for adoption.
Coincidentally, both sisters were on Ancestry.com and had gotten DNA Tests.
The site flagged them as a match.
Whitaker said she found out on Dec. 17 her sister had been found.
Ever since, she said they’ve been constantly communicating with each other.
Tears of joy and emotion were abundant, especially as Whitaker shared pictures and items that her sister had never seen before.
The family said the reunion is just the beginning.
A larger reunion will occur on Saturday with many extended family members who also had been searching years for Tonya.