Daughter Finds Long-Lost Father On Facebook - FOX 18 Quad Cities News and Weather

Daughter Finds Long-Lost Father On Facebook

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Since birth, Jessica Benevides of Rock Island has never known her father.

"I think every little girl wants her dad," Benevides said Sunday.

Benevides has tried searching for the father she never knew for years.

"I always tried to gather information and wasn't ever really successful," she said.

After family and friends couldn't help her, she turned to Facebook:

"I thought maybe that can be my last resort, maybe I can try that, just one more time, and if I can't then let it go," Benevides recalled.

She posted this a picture of herself and two of her mother.

"This is my name, this is the information I have, this is my mom's name," she said of the post.

Then, it took off:

"Within the first hour, over 100 people had shared it," she said.

Within a week, her mom's old college roommate gave her a name, Jay Brokaw, who lived just over in LeClaire.

"I definitely 'Facebook creeped'!" she said.

Searching through Jay's pictures, Benevides saw photos of his other daughter, Ashley, who bore a striking resemblance to her.

"Some of the pictures give you goose bumps, make your hair stand on end, because the similarities were just overwhelming," Jay Brokaw said.

Then they decided to meet.

"It wasn't awkward, it was just very comfortable, we had a nice conversation," Brokaw said.

"I was really anxious before though, I thought I was going to throw up!" Benevides retorted.

"I knew instantly," Brokaw said, "It's something that's been in my heart for a long time."

Within days, they got a DNA test.

"We're both bawling and shaking like crazy that day," Brokaw said, "She saw the number first and when you hear, 'Oh my gosh' and then she instantly started bawling; Was that oh my gosh good or oh my gosh bad?"

But it was good: "As we were crying, she turned to me and said, 'Hi, Dad,'" Brokaw remembered.

Father and daughter say they're looking forward to growing a relationship, as Jay gets to know his grandsons for the first time, and Jessica reconnects with her extended family - a family now finally whole.

"I have that piece of my puzzle now, I know exactly where I come from and it's just like fulfilling, like you just feel whole," Benevides said.

Benevides has found her father, but she also has a whole new set of uncles, aunts, and grandparents to meet too.

She and her extended family plan to reconnect at a family reunion next weekend.

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