Gina McClelland grew up as an only child in Scarborough, Ont., not knowing anything about her biological father, except his name.
She searched for him on Google for years, with few results.
Then, one day in 2008, a photo caught her attention. It was of a man, Larry Cooper, who worked for a real estate company in the Dominican Republic. His bio said he'd moved from Canada to start a new life.
"There was something about his picture that looked like one of my daughters," McClelland, 46, told CBC News.
On a whim, she emailed him.
"The next morning I got a response," McClelland said. "'Yes, I am your father.'"
She knew it was true because of her childhood nickname, Mouse.
"[My father] didn't know me by my name because he had taken off before I was named. And at the end of [Cooper's] email it said, 'Thanks for contacting me mouse.'"
Almost a decade later, with the help of a DNA test and some of her own investigative work, McClelland has also found three paternal sisters around Ontario and a brother from the Dominican Republic.
After McClelland connected with Cooper, they met in Toronto. They talked for hours and he told her she had two sisters and a brother, but wouldn't share their last names.
He later pitched the idea of having everyone meet in the Dominican Republic.
But as months went by, McClelland thought something might have gone wrong.
"I had this feeling like, maybe the sucker's dead. So I Google his name and his obituary came up," she said. Cooper was dead, at 60, three years after she found him.
But McClelland also noticed a comment from a woman looking for details on how Cooper, her father, had died.
That's how McClelland found her sister, Wendy Gray, 51, from Courtice, Ont.
"And then she told my younger sister Laura [Cooper] about me," McClelland said. Each of the women had a different mother.
For Gray, the shock was mutual.