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Family reunited after being apart for more than 60 years

Updated: Jun. 6, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Among the hustle and bustle at Louisville’s Muhamad Ali International Airport, a family reunion more than 60 years in the making.

For the first time, sisters Melissa Schellenberg and Elaine Belling hugged and met each other for the very first time.

Growing up Melissa’s mom, who was no longer with the girls’ biological father, told her and her other sister, Bobbie Batke, they had two other siblings, but no one knew who they were and how to find them.

It was not until Fall of 2016, after the passing of their biological father, their long-lost brother Brad reached out to the both of them.

Finally, three years later on Thanksgiving Day of 2019, the final pieces came together for the final missing sibling to be found.

It was through a popular DNA genetics testing kit Belling was finally able to figure out who and where her missing sister was.

“I was checking my email and, ‘Here is a hit!’” Belling said. “I get goosebumps telling this story, and I called this guy who turns out to be my nephew.”

Who turned out to be Batke’s son.

He arranged and got his mom and Belling on the phone together. Batke said after asking a lot of questions to make sure Belling was who she claimed to be, she knew it was true.

“She said, ‘Well, my mother’s name was Hazel,’ and I said ‘Oh my god, you are my sister,’” Batke said.

Batke flew to Florida to meet her sister Belling two weeks later.

Due to the pandemic, however, Belling wasn’t able to meet the other sister, Schellenberg, until Sunday.

“I was always the oldest, biggest and number one. Now I’m a middle child,” Schellenberg said.

On Wednesday, their brother will be flying in to Louisville. All the siblings say they can’t wait for all four of them to be together in place for the first time.

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