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Social media helps reunite daughter with her father, 37 years later

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Tina Gomez and her father

Tina Gomez and her father

SEATTLE — It’s official! A Seattle woman has found her long-lost father after 37 years.

Q13 FOX News first told you about this story a few weeks ago, when Tina Gomez turned to Facebook to see if she could track down her father.

It turns out he only lived a couple of hours away in Vancouver, Washington. The two will be reuniting on Monday.

“It’s so exciting, I really don’t know where to start,” Gomez said.

Tina is still in shock that her Facebook post worked.

A few weeks ago, a friend convinced her to ask the social media world for help finding her dad. She had searched for him for years with no luck, so she didn’t have high expectations.

“None at all, none at all.”

But the message was shared thousands of times. Two days later, a man from California called. He told Tina she looked just like the daughter of a friend.

“He actually said you're spelling the name wrong, if this is the guy I think is your dad.”

He helped her get in touch with Ric Castellanos by phone.

“We were both kind of shocked, we didn't know what to say,” she said about the phone call. “He said I remember your mom, I can't believe this is happening to me.”

Ric says he dated Tina’s mother, but didn’t know she was pregnant when he moved away.

“I wish I would have known, my life would have been so much different,” he says.

She went down to Vancouver, Washington to meet him on July 12. He said he could see a bit of a family resemblance.

“By her mouth, the way she talks, the things she’s done in her past. I said, I’m sorry, I’ve done that too.”

They took a DNA test to be sure. Tina says when she got the results, it was a match with almost 100-percent certainty. She felt so many emotions, she started crying.

“I’m not sure what it was, relief, closure, a new beginning.”

The two will meet again Monday. Tina is grateful for the chance to expand her family, and thankful to all of those who helped make it happen.

“It’s been really strange and scary, but mostly exciting that so many people felt that close to my story.”

Now she’s encouraging others to turn to social media.

“If I can do it, anybody can do it. Post it, and I’m going to share it. I'm going to share all these stories I see from now on.”

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