ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- Surprising DNA test results brought a father and daughter together and neither knew they were even looking for each other to begin with.
The father happens to be a local hero and an interesting, well-known figure.
Debra Biagini, who lives in Rome, Italy, told CBS46, “I wanted to do something special for my birthday, and I thought taking a test, and going to the country that has the majority of the DNA would be kind of a way to make 60 look a little more exciting.”
Biagini turned sixty in July of 2018, and used MyHeritage, a global genealogy platform, for the big milestone.
“It’s like taking an airplane trip around the world, and showing you which countries are yours,” Biagini added.
She was born and raised in New York, and the test first revealed a first cousin she grew up with.
What happened next, though, was shocking.
“See a name Theodore Roosevelt Britton Jr., underneath it said 49% DNA compatible, and below that, it said father,” added Biagini.
She was very close with the father who raised her. She didn’t know he wasn’t her biological father until the test.
“I remember going into the bathroom and looking at myself in the mirror and saying, who are you?” said Biagini.
She discovered she’s the daughter of U.S. Ambassador and Congressional gold medal recipient Theodore Britton Jr., a 94-year-old resident of Atlanta. Someone her mother talked about, but never revealed the truth:
“She spoke very highly of Ted Britton, all of my life, I knew the name, I didn’t know he was my biological dad,” Biagini said.
At first, Britton says Debra Biagini didn’t ring a bell, until he saw the name of a woman he worked with when he was younger:
“I found the name of her mother, and I said, ahhhh, she never said anything,” said Theodore Roosevelt Britton Jr.
He said it was mind-blowing to find out he had a sixth child in his nineties. Biagini flew from Italy so her dad could introduce her to the entire extended family.
“It was a fabulous birthday gift,” Biagini said, “I got a dad, I got two sisters, two brothers…”
Biagini also added she wishes she found out sooner, and now urges others to take the test.