It was truly a happy Father’s Day for 63-year-old Al Annunziata who came face-to face with his 40-year-old daughter he never knew he had. Annunziata and Jyll Justamond had an emotional first meeting on June 11.
“I’m never going to let you go, ever,” ABC News quoted Annunziata as telling his daughter during the meeting. Justamond of Littleton, Colorado, said that she found Annunziata after tracking him down on Facebook on April 3 — her 40th birthday. She started 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 said.
Justamond said she approached her biological mother, Linda, to ask about her father. “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 asked her to 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. 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.
Annunziata said he and his daughter have a lot in common and the pair is already close. The father-daughter duo now plans to spend Christmas together in Las Vegas, where Justamond will meet her aunt.