Spit, science, and social media help Valley woman find long-lost father

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For a Phoenix woman who never knew her father, her ancestry was always a bit of a mystery. She doesn't have to wonder any longer. It's all thanks to spit, science and social media.

After private investigators could not help, she decided to play detective on her own. Ordering a relatively inexpensive DNA test online, from the company 23 and Me.

She documented the whole process.

“It's here, my 23 and Me kit," Esther Blue De Avalos recorded, as she removed her DNA kit from her mailbox. "So excited to spit in a cup and find out my ancestry."

For all of her 28 years, Esther wondered who her biological father was. Her parents dated back in college. They lost contact before the pregnancy was discovered.

"He went off to San Francisco, he had no idea I was alive, my mom tried to find him but it didn't work out," she said.  

Curiosity getting the best of her, she decided to try again.

"I've been told he was Persian and I want to find out, was he really Persian? Or was he something else?" she wondered.

One month later, when the results came back, Esther got her answer and so much more.

The website listed a second cousin, who oddly enough lives is Mesa. She sent him a message. "And when he added me on Facebook and saw my profile picture he knew 100 percent who my father was," she said.

There he was, just a state away, in Irvine, California.

"To find him the day I got the results it was like a miracle, it was so beautiful," Esther said.

On Easter weekend, Farhad Rahbar, her father, flew into Phoenix to meet the daughter he never knew he had.

She caught the moment on cell phone video. "Oh my god! My daughter!" her father exclaimed as they hugged in the baggage claim.  "Oh my god. My daughter after 28 years."

The surprise wasn't over yet. Esther was able to introduce him to his three granddaughters.

"He was really happy and he was in shock, definitely in shock," said Esther.

Safe to say the feeling was mutual. Ester also found out she has a younger sister. She plans to meet up with her and her father in California later this summer.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

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Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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