Jyll Justamond (LITTLETON, Colo.) — Just in time for Father’s Day, one man has come face to face with a daughter he never knew he had.
Al Annunziata, 63, and Jyll Justamond, 40, embraced on June 11 in an emotional meeting that was captured on video.
“I’m never going to let you go, ever,” Annunziata said to Justamond in the footage. “This is my beautiful daughter.”
Justamond of Littleton, Colorado, told ABC News that she found Annunziata after tracking him down on Facebook on April 3 — her 40th birthday.
She began searching for her biological father years after learning that people she thought were her parents were actually her grandparents.
“My biological mother was 18 when she had me and for whatever the reason, felt that she wasn’t capable or old enough to raise me,” Justamond said. “She asked her stepfather and mother to raise me and I didn’t know I wasn’t their child. I found out when I was 10.
“It turns out that the person I thought was my half-sister was actually my mom,” she added. “It was bizarre and I tried to contact her and have a relationship with her when I found out, but she was not ready or willing at the time.”
Justamond said she approached her biological mother, Linda, asking who her real father was.
After a dead end and a paternity test that canceled out one prospect, Linda gave Justamond the name Al.
“She told me it could be this guy Al and she said, ‘When I met him, he was bartending at this bar called Neary’s and it was essentially a one night stand. A first name and the bar he worked in — that was all I had to go on. That, and he was Italian.”
In April, Justamond posted in a Facebook group dedicated to natives of Palisades Park, New Jersey, where the bar Neary’s was located in the 1970s.
One user suggested she speak with Don Neary, the owner of the former bar.
“I said, ‘I know this is crazy, but do you happen to know a guy named Al that worked or you in 1976, 1977?'” Justamond asked. “He said, ‘Oh, you mean Al Annunziata.'”
Justamond found and reached out to Annunziata on Facebook. Annunziata told ABC News that he had a “gut feeling” that he had a child with Justamond’s biological mother, who insisted he was not the father.
“She wasn’t my girlfriend and we weren’t really romantically involved and I guess it was just two young people who got together,” said Annunziata of Cliffside Park, New Jersey. “Of all the years this has been going on, it’s been out there as a burning question. It was never resolved. When you’re young and you don’t know, you take things at face value. I believed her mother.”
Justamond and Annunziata exchanged messages via Facebook and on April 24, Annunziata took a paternity test. The results were 99.9966 probability that he is Justamond’s biological father.
“I’ve never experienced a happier person in my life,” Justamond said. “He was so excited. He was like, ‘I’m a brand-new father!'”
Justamond and Annunziata met Sunday for the first time at a New Jersey restaurant.
Annunziata said he and his daughter have a lot in common and the pair are already close.
“It’s really wild that you didn’t raise somebody but yet they’re very much like you,” he added. “She’s just a really sweet, caring woman. This just the beginning. I’ll never let her out of my life, ever.”
The father-daughter duo plan to spend Christmas together in Las Vegas, where Justamond will meet her aunt.
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