Arizona man meets daughter he never knew 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. 11, 2023 at 5:56 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Seventy-six-year-old Gary Aukes says a simple DNA test changed his life forever. “I’m here to meet my daughter for the first time because I didn’t know she existed,” Aukes said as he waited for his daughter at Sky Harbor Airport.

“I went on Ancestry a few years back just to do a DNA sample. Shortly after that, I got this weird email [from someone] saying I’m her daddy, and I said, ‘oh, that’s another scam,’” Aukes said. What began as a curious search on linked him to a daughter he never knew he had. “Well first it was a shock, and then, I was really happy. It’s kinda surprising but there was an immediate bonding. On November 23, I found out about her existence. And every day since we’ve communicated numerous times a day,” he said.

Not even two months later, he’s getting to meet his 53-year-old daughter, Chancey, for the first time. “It’s kinda weird, it’s like we have known each other our entire life. Nervous, anxious, happy, worried. I hope she likes me,” he said.

But it didn’t come without challenges. On Wednesday morning, the FAA had a system-wide outage that left thousands of flights delayed or canceled all over the country. Aukes thought today wouldn’t be the day he’d meet his daughter, but it was. Chancey’s plane finally touched down on Wednesday afternoon. A moment filled with nerves and anticipation quickly turned to one filled with love. “I would never in 76 years on Earth think that this would happen,” Aukes said.

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.”

Gary 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.