Man meets daughter he didn’t know existed thanks to DNA test

Gary Aukes says he found out he had a daughter he never knew existed, and the two met for the first time at Sky Harbor Airport.
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 11:17 AM PST
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PHOENIX (KPHO/Gray News) – Gary Aukes, 76, said his life changed forever when he took a simple DNA test a few years ago.

What began as a curious search on Ancestry.com linked him to a daughter he never knew he had.

“Well first it was a shock, and then, I was really happy,” Aukes told KPHO. “It’s kind of surprising but there was an immediate bonding.”

Aukes learned about his daughter’s existence on Nov. 23 and said they’ve communicated every day since.

Less than two months later, Aukes planned to meet his 53-year-old daughter, Chancey, whose last name was not given, for the first time at Sky Harbor Airport in Arizona.

“It’s kind of weird,” he said of the meeting. “It’s like we have known each other our entire life.”

The meetup Wednesday didn’t come without challenges. The FAA had a systemwide outage that left thousands of flights delayed or canceled across the country.

Aukes wasn’t sure their plans would fall into place, but Chancey’s plane finally touched down Wednesday afternoon.

“I would never in 76 years on Earth think that this would happen,” Aukes said of the moment that started with nerves and anticipation and quickly turned to one of love.

Chancey lost the man that raised her years ago.

“Now I get a chance to have another amazing dad, which a lot of girls don’t get. A lot of people don’t get that,” she said. “When I just hugged him, I didn’t want to let go. I still don’t want to.”

Aukes and Chancey say their story shows it’s never too late for new beginnings.

“It’s just been amazing. It’s like we’ve known each other all our lives,” Aukes said.