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DNA Investigator with a 100 Percent Success Rate

Updated On: August 30, 2023

Family Twist Episode 33: DNA Investigator with a 100 Percent Success Rate

Our guest this episode is Shayna Landry, a forensic genealogist and private investigator a.k.a. DNA detective. You may have seen Shayna on Netflix’s docuseries, “I Just Killed My Dad,” where she used her DNA expertise to assist the investigation. Shayna shares her experience finding her birth father via DNA, and how she uses that discovery to help others on their adoption/found family journeys.

“Every time I’m able to give someone their answers, it cures a little piece of my broken heart,” Shayna said. “I cry with my clients; I laugh with my clients. Most times, we walk away with a friendship. Everyone is on an island and friends and family don’t understand.

Guest Bio:

Shayna Landry has solved hundreds of DNA mysteries over the years using the expertise in Genetic Genealogy and Investigation that she acquired while digging deeper into her own DNA to find her biological father. Shayna has assisted in the following using Professional Facial Recognition Software:

  • Helped Desperate Family Members Identify Internet Scams (Catfish) Cases
  • Assisted Law Enforcement Agencies identify Criminals
  • Identified People listed in NAMUS as Unidentified
  • Identified Victims of Current & Ongoing Crimes

Contact Shayna:

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00:00 This is family twist, a podcast about astonishing adoption stories and finding family via DNA magic. I'm Kendall, and I'm Corey, and we've been inseparable partners in life since O three O four O 5. Also known as March 4th, 2005. In January 2018, our found family journey took us 3000 miles from the San Francisco Bay Area to New England, where we now live near my biological father, two half siblings, and their families. END 00:28 END

00:28 We love being near them all and the adventure continues. Thank you for joining us again on family twist. Unfortunately, Kendall is not with us today. He's dealing with some work drama, so it's just me, I'm afraid, but I'm very excited because our guest is Shayna Landry, a forensic genealogist and private investigator, also known as a DNA detective. Now, you might have seen Shana on Netflix's I just killed my dad where she used her DNA expertise to assist the investigation. END 00:58 END

00:59 Welcome Shana, thanks for being here with us. Thanks for having me. Before we talk about the Netflix show and everything else, I want to start off with the fact that you did an ancestry DNA test about 6 or 7 years ago? Yep. In 2016. Okay. And what was the impetus for that? So all my life I knew that my father that raised me was my stepfather. I knew that he adopted me when I was younger. END 01:30 END

01:31 And so I was really curious about where I came from and who I was. And my mom gave me a name. And actually, my detective work started when I was a freshman in high school. I guess Google had Google, I guess, wasn't even a thing at the point. It was Yahoo maybe or white pages. And I found the man that she said was my father, and I looked him up, he lived about 15 minutes away. So I contacted him, and he said, I don't think I'm your dad. END 02:01 END

02:02 I just, I can't, I can't, I couldn't make the timeline add up. I don't think it's me. And but he had kept a photo. My mom had given him when I was a baby, and so I didn't believe him, to be honest with you. I just thought maybe he just didn't want children. He married someone who couldn't have children or maybe they just decided not to have children. But in any case, I decided he just didn't want to be a dad. END 02:29 END

02:31 So I went on about my life. A few years later, I reached out to his mother to see if she wanted to meet me or know about me and she was curious, but didn't continue beyond the phone call. And then came the ancestry DNA, I guess it was like an ad through a DJ on the local radio station. And I figured out that you could connect with family members. END 02:59 END

02:59 And I was like, well, here's my chance you know. I don't need his DNA to prove that he's my father. The funny thing was that when I got the DNA back, it was very clear that he was not my father. And he was right. I did call him. And apologize. So then that led me to looking for my actual father. Those initial results, like what popped up for you? END 03:27 END

03:29 So I had learned a little bit through Facebook at that point, this was 2016. So DNA was hotter at that time than it had been. And so there were Facebook groups of people trying to figure out how to work with the DNA. And others who were really good at it that were helping them. And so I knew pretty quickly that the man that my mom had said was my father, which was her on again, off again college, boyfriend, was not my father because I was very lucky that he was not from Louisiana. END 04:02 END

04:03 And all of my matches were from Louisiana and specifically on my paternal side, New Orleans. In my mom's side, they're all from Cajun country, which is a total opposite side of the state. So it was really clear, thankfully, like I said, that his parents were from other states. And I had no matches that were even remotely thrown out of state. So it was pretty obvious. END 04:33 END

04:35 So did you start reaching out to some of the people you matched with or how did you go about that process? So my dad was very Italian. And I don't know how much you guys have dive into this, but a lot of other countries don't test yet or maybe they do, but they're not using ancestry. So at the time, I had no idea, but I had very few matches on his side. END 05:02 END

05:03 My mom's side, I had tons. But on his side, I had very few the closest match I had, and I'm going to speak a little bit of genealogy here was like 236 centimorgans, which might not mean anything to anyone, but what it means is she ended up being my grandmother's first cousin on my father's side. And then the next one down was 77 centimorgans, which was much farther removed. END 05:31 END

05:33 And I did reach out to the First Lady, but she was much older and wasn't using ancestry. So I did some more detective work and ended up speaking to her 97 year old mother. And she was like, you need to call my other daughter. And so I did, and at first, she was like, I didn't do my DNA. I don't want any part of this. END 05:58 END

05:58 But luckily, thankfully, she had a change of heart and she and her husband called me back the next day and gave me information on my family. And how she could possibly be related to me. Okay. Wow. So yeah, just to sort of clarify, I mean, if you're talking about a parent or a sibling thousands thousands, right. Yes, as opposed to just single or double digits. Yeah. END 06:26 END

06:27 So yeah, so that would have been, I don't know if you knew you know what those numbers meant back then, but yeah, it would have been. I did not. I had to get those kind of numbers. Yes. And back then, we were still using the chart. They didn't have the tools that they have now, so you couldn't just type a number in. We were using the charts like trying to figure out what that number meant. And we even now trying to use the chart, that number could almost fit anywhere because it's so low. Right, right. END 06:54 END

06:55 So you've gotten some clues from a distant family member, and where do you go from there? I was so the 77 centimorgan, Matt, she actually had my biological father's last name. Which was sagrada and it's pretty unique. So I looked her up and she happened to be my age. And we had a mutual friend. END 07:20 END

07:22 So I reached out to the mutual friend and I said, hey, listen, I know and he was actually more of an acquaintance to me. So I probably sounded crazy. But I was like, listen, I know this sounds crazy, but can you please ask her to check her Facebook messages? So he did, and she did, thankfully, and she basically just told me who her dad was. She wasn't super close to the family. END 07:49 END

07:50 Her dad passed when she was very young. And so she didn't have a ton of information, but she was helpful as far as who the family was and who their parents were. So I started researching the lady, the older ladies family, on the other side, and I stumbled across my grandmother's obituary. And she was married to a man with the sagrada last name. END 08:21 END

08:22 And so it's funny because her last name was Smith, her maiden name. So it was like a needle in a haystack. And then I've got this super unique name. So it was really easy to find her because of her obituary. And then she had two sons. And I was the names were staring back at me. So it was a wild ride for a second there, and then it was like the answer was in my lap. Wow. END 08:51 END

08:53 Were you nervous about reaching out or what were you feeling at that moment? Oh, man. Here it is. So I was at that time. I was very concerned about blowing someone's life up because I knew that whoever, whichever brother it was, didn't know that I existed. So it was possible that he was in a relationship at the time or married with children now. END 09:19 END

09:20 And I didn't want to, I just wanted to know where I came from and who I was. I didn't need necessarily a father. I had a father who raised me. But I did want to know what could have been or what should have been. And to know if he if I had siblings or anything about my genetic past or my biology. So I started looking at them and my uncle at the time I didn't know his my uncle, but he was born in the same year as my mom. END 09:53 END

09:54 So I jumped on that. I was like, it's got to be him. They're the same age. My father was a couple of years older. He would have been a senior of the year. My mom was a freshman when she got pregnant with me. So I thought it was my uncle at first, but then I started doing a little more research and he had graduated from the university of New Orleans and my mom was from Baton Rouge. So that didn't jive. And luckily, my dad had one Facebook post that I could see of all of his posts. END 10:26 END

10:27 And it was from when prince died. He had posted a prince ticket. And it was from, I think, 1985. But someone commented that they remember the drive back to southeastern, which was the college that they went to. And how it was so bad. It was icy on the roads or something of that nature. And I was like, bingo, it's him. He was there. I asked my mom, and she confirmed that there was a John. END 10:57 END

10:59 Oh boy. Yeah. Prince was the key. Yeah. Can you imagine? Thank goodness for prince. Well, he got to see some amazing vintage prince if he saw him in 1985. Amazing, yeah. Yeah. So wow, okay, so you know who your dad is. And he's on Facebook. Is that how you reached out or? No, has Facebook said he was in California. So it was a little nervous that he wasn't even in the state. And again, I didn't want to blow up his life. END 11:28 END

11:29 So I thought I'll reach out to my uncle and see. And even my uncle, I didn't want to call him at home either. So he owned a local gym in New Orleans, so I called the gym and left the message. And when I tell you, this is the most amazing human being on the planet. I mean, he is the most wonderful person. I know. Thank goodness. And he called me back, and we spoke, and he answered all of my questions. I asked if he was married. END 11:58 END

11:58 If he had children. And it's funny because I'll never forget he said just you. So he immediately believed me and was excited to talk to me. So it was really nice to have that open reception because you know I'm very fortunate as a lot of people do not get that from the family when they find them. So I was very lucky. And he did give me his phone number. END 12:25 END

12:28 Did he give you any kind of sense as to like what he thought your dad's reaction would be? He said, I'm not going to sugarcoat this. He said, please don't tell him you got my phone number from me. And I said, okay, this is a red flag. Right. Because you know the person I just spoke to for like 45 minutes, I guess, was wonderful. And I thought, well, he's got to be similar to him. END 12:55 END

12:57 But when he said that, I was like, is he going to be upset? And he said, no, I think he'll be excited, but he's also going to be you know, he can be kind of rough around the edges. And so I was prepared when I called him for someone who might be a little more harsh than what I had just encountered. Okay. Okay. And how did that first phone call go? So I called him on my lunch break. END 13:24 END

13:26 And I said, hi you know, and I didn't know what he working you know. He might be on his lunch break as well. And so I was trying to make it quick, but I was also trying to be pretty like business like because my uncle had said you know, he didn't marry or have children because his whole life had been about his career. So I was trying to be very you know, I don't know, more business than all feelings and emotions. END 13:55 END

13:56 So I said you know, hi, I'm looking for John secret, and he said, speaking, and I said, okay, do you have a second? And he was like, he was like, what do you want? And I was like, wow. And I'm sure he maybe he thought I was a telemarketer or something at that point. But I was like, well, to be quite Frank with you, I think you're my father. He said, who is your mother? END 14:25 END

14:26 And I thought, well, I have about 5 seconds to spit out exactly what I know to be true about my mom in 1986. So you know I said she was a tiny blond girl who likely ran cross country. You might have met her at a bar. I don't know. She was at southeastern. And he said, what was her name? And I said, her name. And he said, I know exactly who your mom is. And I was like, wow. Because I did not expect him to say that he knew who she was. END 14:56 END

14:56 I mean, it would be so easy just to deny. And he said, yeah, we dated. And I was shocked because my mom said that it was more of a one time thing. Yeah. So he heard the shock in my voice and he was, you know, questioning why I was so shocked. And I said, well, she told me it was it was less than dating. END 15:24 END

15:25 And he said, I don't know. He was just so angry that that was how it was told to me and that you know then he started to realize I think that he had missed 30 years of my life. Yeah. So that started to sink in. And he just got angrier and angrier as we talked. Wow. Yeah. END 15:51 END

15:52 Just hurt that it was like that his you know what he perceived as a relationship was chalked up to a one night stand. Exactly. Yes. And then you know a lot of what ifs and the fact that he didn't have a family his entire life were any significant relationships beyond his parents. Wow. And that had been taken you know. So how do you penetrate that anger to get beyond that? END 16:20 END

16:24 So he asked me for a couple of days to digest the information. And of course, you know, I've been knowing that I have a father out there my entire life, but he didn't know he had a child with their so, however, I was like, okay, how long is it going to take? Yes, I'll give you a couple of days. But it ended up being a little longer than that. END 16:47 END

16:47 And by the weekend, I guess, I was ready to talk. I wanted to know. So I sent him a photo of me and I was like, look, this is me. I'm not even sure. I'm not even 100% sure you know. And honestly, to be fair, I wasn't 100% sure until I had that paternity test. Even though he had told me that he had had a relationship with my mom, he confirmed all of it. But I didn't believe that until that DNA test came back. END 17:18 END

17:18 But so he he reached out. I reached out to him again that weekend, and I said I'm a photo. And he said, look, you know, when the time is right, and then he called me later that day. And he was like, look, I'm all or nothing. I really just need to get this like, I just need to digest this, and then I promise you, I'm 100% all in. END 17:46 END

17:47 And he said, you know, I saw that photo and you're my twin. It looks like I spit you out. And I was like, okay. Can I get one? I wanted to see him. And so we get off the phone and it was hopeful and And then he called me back about 15 minutes later, and he said, one last thing, how did you get my number? Oh. And I had promised my own goal that I wouldn't say and so I was like, well, I mean, technically I could have looked it up. END 18:19 END

18:19 But at the time, I wasn't very savvy with buying phone numbers or using all of these search engines. And so I was like, I got it off the line. And he was like, someone gave you my personal cell phone number online. And I was like, and he said, he said, you got it from my brother, didn't you? And I just sat there, and he said, I knew it. And he hung up the phone. Well, unbeknownst to me, he blocked me. At that moment. In anger, yes. END 18:48 END

18:49 So I didn't know because at the time you know, it was right when iPhone started going to green if it was blocked or whatever. And I had no idea. So I just kept texting him like every couple of weeks and it was going into nowhere. I continued a relationship with my uncle. He said, just give him some time to cool down. And so I continued with my uncle and we ended up having lunch in New Orleans. And he was, again, wonderful. END 19:18 END

19:19 He's just been so great. And so then a few months later, I figured out that I was blocked and I was given a photo of him by a friend of mine who's dad went to school with him. It was very strange. And so he sent me a side by side of us. And I was like, oh my gosh. He wasn't kidding. I am his twin. So I decided to download a text app and I texted him with a photo and I was like, I got this off Google. END 19:48 END

19:48 Because I had seen a photo a million times. I just didn't know that it was him. Wow. And I said, we do look alike. And he said, yes, we do. And I'd like to know you when the time is right. And this is in August. I found him in June. So it was like a month or two later. And so I was like, okay. He wants to talk now. So we just kept talking on the tech staff and told November. And then things changed. Yeah. END 20:17 END

20:18 You know, I found out you know what happened when I saw that. I mean, my heart just sank like, oh, this is not this is not where you want the story to go. No. Yeah. So in November, November 19th, it was a Friday. He contacted me. And I had kept the conversation very, very business like. We only talked about my career. At the time, I was being offered promotions and new jobs and other cities. END 20:49 END

20:50 And he was giving me advice about not doing things like that because that's how he ended up where he was. And things like that. So I didn't talk about family. I didn't talk about anything that I thought might bring back those angry emotions. And so in November, he reached out to me and he called that text app, and I was like, you're going to unblock me if you want to talk to me, so he did. END 21:14 END

21:16 And he started telling me that he his house was up for sale. And it was under contract. And he needed he was in a bind. And he was wondering if he could borrow some cash to get him through. And I had just adopted my daughter or the single mom. I adopted her from foster care. END 21:41 END

21:42 And so I wasn't really in the position to give anyone money at the time. I mean, day care is a full mortgage payment. I mean, if we're being yeah. And on a single income, so I was very fortunate that that particular day, I had a lot of very interesting divine interventions situations that went along with this. But that particular day, I had a ring for sale on consignment for two years, and it actually sold that day. END 22:12 END

22:13 And so I had money, crazy enough. And so I didn't know what to do. I was like, what if he's scamming me? What if you know he's just using me? So I called one of my friends. And he said, look, a couple hundred bucks is a small price to pay to know if this guy is genuine or not. And you can kind of just walk away if that's all you lose. And I said, he's right. So I gave him the money. END 22:43 END

22:44 And immediately, it's like the wall fell down. He was amazing. He called me all weekend. He reached out constantly. And I was like, wow, this is all the time. But I think it just established that trust and it showed him that I was invested to right. It was, yeah. It's something different for everybody, right? Yeah. A few bucks, like right. Okay. Yeah. END 23:13 END

23:13 And so that following week was Thanksgiving week. So I kind of pushed a little bit and I said you know, I don't have anything to do. Thanksgiving, night. Why don't my daughter and I come up and see you because we lived about an hour and 15 minutes or so away. So I said, why don't we come over and say hi and bring you some Thanksgiving dinner? And he said, I'm just not ready. Maybe Christmas. And I said, okay, I resigned myself to it. END 23:43 END

23:44 So we were chatting up till Thanksgiving Day. I sent him pictures of my baby and her little Thanksgiving outfit and he talked about how cute she was and everything was great. And then all of a sudden there's dreaded green bubbles came back from the iPhone and I said, oh no. He blocked me again. Why? This doesn't make sense. Right. Yeah. Everything was going well. END 24:13 END

24:14 Yeah. And so I kind of left the ball in his court and I thought, okay, well, I mean, I guess this is it you know. Maybe my friend was right. And so that was Thursday, and then on the volunteers day, we'll actually a week and a half later. So the next Tuesday. One of my good friends and I were on the phone and she said, let me call him. END 24:42 END

24:42 And she said, if it does, because I started to be concerned that maybe yet and paid his phone bill and so maybe I just needed to pay his phone bill. But she said, let me see if it's disconnected from me. And if it is, then you know. And if it's not, then we know she said, but if he answers, I'm going to give him a piece of mind. And he didn't. And so I reached out to my uncle and I said, listen, I think we need to do a wellness check because he had mentioned to me that he had had blood pressure and you know that he could pass any day and he was only 52. END 25:17 END

25:17 And so I dismissed that very quickly. I was like, I mean, at the time, I didn't know anything about blood pressure, but I was like, I think they make pills for that. You're very young, and I don't want to consider the fact that you could pass. And so. I did tell my uncle that there. I said, look, he's been kind of ill, which I guess I should have said earlier. Maybe it's been obvious that they didn't speak. So my uncle wouldn't have known that. So right. END 25:46 END

25:46 I said, look, I think we should have the sheriff's office do a wellness check because I didn't want to get my uncle involved if it was just him being angry again, and I didn't want to put myself in a situation. So I thought maybe just you know 1° of separation here. So my uncle said I'll call you in the morning. And I said, okay. So the next morning, I couldn't wait. And I thought, wait a second. He was under contract for that house. END 26:15 END

26:16 The realtor has talked to him. I mean, there's just no way that he hadn't gotten in contact with her. So I called the realtor. Big mistake. I was driving to work, and I said, hi, I'm Collin to talk to you about the house on gillan street is where he lived. And she said, what would you like to know about it? And I said, I'd like to talk to you about your client. And she said, which one? The buyer or the seller? And I said the seller. END 26:46 END

26:47 And she said, ma'am, the seller is dead. And when I tell you almost drove into a wall, it was the worst day of my life to date. I can assure you, I was devastated. To find out that way. Right. Oh my gosh. Definitely a very hard I got to work and they immediately sent me home. They were like, you can not be here like this. Yeah. END 27:15 END

27:16 And I text my uncle and I was like, he's dead. Because she said, she said he told me she said, who is this? And I said, this is his daughter. And she said, what is going on? He told me he didn't have any family. And now he has a daughter and a brother? And I was stunned because that told me that my uncle knew yeah. And so I was a little upset about that. END 27:43 END

27:44 But there are other things at play, my uncle had had his first child two days prior to my dad passing. So he had a newborn. And then he was having to deal with all of this and his own you know. Emotions and the situation that he was in. So and then having to tell me, yeah, right. And then having to consider telling me after everything we had been through together you know, I can't imagine a place that he was in. END 28:16 END

28:16 And so I have no I have no anger or I have no issue with any any way that he handled it. He's been wonderful. 100% of this entire time. So he immediately called the funeral home well, the first thing he told me was I had the coroner's office take blood for you. So that we can do a paternity test. END 28:43 END

28:45 And I was like, wow, anyone else would have I mean, they could have cremated him and been done. I would have never known. And I said, okay, well, do you think we could do a different kind? Like if I paid a lab to come in and swab him? Because you know corners with the blood could take weeks. And I needed to know at that point, I just really needed to know. And so he said, absolutely no problem. END 29:13 END

29:14 The coroner's office was bringing my dad to the funeral home that day. And so he went to the funeral home immediately and turned everything over to me as next of kin. He told them I would handle everything. He this fan is a rockstar. He sat in as executor to the estate for my father. He insisted that I be put in as his heir. I mean, just to an amazing human. END 29:43 END

29:44 And I, at the time, was having immense feelings of guilt and I didn't want any of that, but he insisted he was like, my brother would have wanted you to you know he wanted to make sure that he knew that I was taking care of and it was just an unbelievable time for me. He made sure that the court deemed him my father. It was amazing. Wow. END 30:13 END

30:14 I mean, I can only imagine, like, all the feelings that you were going through. And, you know, and, you know, doing this podcast and being part of a lot of Facebook groups, you know, you just, you see and read the heartbreaking stories and, you know, but it's just, they, they're becoming more and more common. And I think a lot of people, I think most people in your position, their gut would be like, oh, I wish I had never done a DNA test. I don't want anything to do with DNA ever again. END 30:42 END

30:44 That is not the case with you. This is really no. The beginning of the story, it was the beginning, right? Exactly. Yeah, after that, I mean, I had a newborn at the time. So I was spending a lot of time at home. And probably not the best way to deal with trauma, but I did dive into other people's DNA mysteries. It helped me to help them. And it still does to this day. END 31:11 END

31:12 Every time I'm able to give someone their answers, it kills a little piece of my broken heart. And so that is helpful for me you know. It's just amazing. Where do you think your detective like instincts come from? That's a good question. I have and my mom's side. I have law enforcement background, so I'm assuming it's that. My uncle was a captain in the sheriff's office and now he's chief investigator at the coroner's office. END 31:42 END

31:43 So maybe I get my detective's news from him. How did you get from that point of grieving your father and then deciding and I want to help other people? And how do you even get involved with helping other people with their DNA mysteries? I think it all goes back to those Facebook groups. You know, people would go on there and I could see them pleading for help and they didn't know what they were looking at. END 32:12 END

32:12 And I thought, well, let me take a crack at it. I'm just sitting at home you know not sleeping. So I would spend late hours just diving into people's DNA and I'll never forget my first client. She was devastated you know to find out most of my clients were much older when they found out. So and most of them had the shock, right? END 32:41 END

32:42 I had a shock, but in a different way, a lot of people that I work with don't know that their father isn't their father at all. The man that raised them you know. I am in a unique situation that that me and didn't raise me. It didn't break my heart the way it genuinely breaks some of these people's hearts you know. END 33:04 END

33:06 And then moving into the adoptive realm where I know Kindle knew from day one that he was adopted, but so many people, so many of my current clients are adoptees who found out in their 40s, 50s, 60s that they were adopted, and I can not imagine the amount of betrayal that it must feel that you know the two people that are supposed to be able to trust and love you the most could keep those things from you. END 33:34 END

33:35 So being able to give people a little bit of their past and where they come from is you know healing for me too. Sure. What are some of your tools of the trade? Oh, man. So first and foremost, would have to be my ADHD. My hyperfocus. I'll have to give that. A little shout out. But after that you know, I 1000% prefer ancestry DNA. END 34:05 END

34:06 So if my client has not tested there, I always recommend that they do. And then also you know using ancestry and the tools that it provides such as the trees and be able to connect the trees to the DNA and let it do its magic that way, and then also they added the colored bubbles, which is awesome because I used to have to do that myself. END 34:31 END

34:33 And then also I use something called DNA Jed calm, which is the leads method, but it's the Collins leads method. Some people may be familiar with the leads method, but a lot of people do that by hand. So it's just a it's a triangulation. Of grandparents and great grandparents. So it basically groups people together based on their great grandparents and how they're related. However, DNA Jed calm, it's amazing. END 35:01 END

35:02 It's a $5 donation a month, I believe. And it will actually extract the DNA and all of the trees and all the people that are in common with each other. And make a little chart for you. And then it'll tell you who they share in common as far as the ancestors and their tree. So that is like my secret weapon. A lot of people don't know about it and don't use it, but it's awesome. Awesome. And then DNA painter has spent a lot of time using all of the tools on DNA painter, mostly the way to trees, though. END 35:36 END

35:37 And that is the what are the odds. So you put the tree in, you put the people that you match, and there's some organs. And it basically tries to triangulate and give you a hypothesis of where you could potentially fit in. Okay. Now at the beginning, you were on the groups and you were seeing people that were looking for help and you were reaching out to them. Is that still how you get your clients or are there people that are referring folks to you or how does it work these days? Yeah. END 36:02 END

36:02 So the Netflix was a huge bump for me as far as clients go. Prior to the Netflix, I was probably working like three or four cases at a time. And I was doing most of them pro Bono. Or for a donation. Now, because of the Netflix, I do have to charge because I am working full time. I also have a nonprofit foster children. END 36:30 END

36:31 I am maxed out on the amount of availability that I have. And so I did start charging after Netflix because I did have a ton of interest. It was very interesting to me that people heard one sentence in that Netflix. And it was that I had found my father via DNA. And they reached out to me because it had never crossed that. Tons of documentaries. And I never thought like I should reach out to the person. END 36:58 END

36:59 But so many people were like, listen, I turned it off after I heard what you said. And I immediately went in search for you. And I was like, wow, I couldn't imagine feeling so isolated and stuck and not know where to go that I hear this on a documentary and I immediately stopped my life and go. So I'm glad that they did, but yes, things have gone insane since then. END 37:27 END

37:27 And I did this weekend, get my first referral from a client from Netflix. So I solved hers and I guess she reached out and told someone about me and that person is now a new client. Awesome. Have you thought about like, do you want to turn this into your full-time thing? I would love to. I started out this last 6 months with an extremely low price for what I'm doing. END 37:54 END

37:56 Compared to most others that do this for a living. I'm charging about 10%. I do look to increase my prices so that I can go full-time, but it was important to me to keep accessibility for people who can't afford those. Standing prices, don't get me wrong, they are worth every penny. Because you know the information that we're giving to people is life-changing. END 38:23 END

38:25 And it does take a lot of hard work and dedication to get to that point. But like I said you know, it was important to me to give as many people as possible. Access to my expertise right now while I can do that. But I do look to be increasing my prices in the very near future so that I can spend more quality time on my clients. Sure. END 38:50 END

38:51 And you know, I'm sure you're finding things out that you know, of course, everybody wants a happy ending, but I'm sure you're finding information that's not a happy ending for people and you've got to be able to share that with them. And I'm sure you're doing it with a lot more decorum than the real estate agent. Yeah. Yeah. So that is definitely something I did not take into account was the emotional roller coaster that it would be for me. END 39:15 END

39:16 You know, I explained to my clients in our first call when we speak about their case that you know this is an emotional roller coaster and you're going to have ups and downs and it doesn't matter what the ending is if it's happy or sad. It's still going to be a roller coaster. And I didn't take my own advice. I didn't realize how attached I would become to my clients and you know because I become a part of their family. I'm digging into their past. END 39:44 END

39:44 I'm learning about their family. And so their story becomes a little piece of my story. And you know it does definitely take a toll when it's a sad ending. I cry with my clients. I laugh with my clients. And honestly, after it's all said and done, we walk away most of the time with some sort of friendship because they may need to call on me even after their cases solved. END 40:16 END

40:17 Because everyone in our case, for the most part, is on an island. Their friends and their family don't know. They don't understand what they're going through. Right, right. Well, I've got a couple of questions for you about a couple of things you posted on Facebook that really made me smile, but before we get to that, let's talk a little bit about how you got involved with the murder investigation. Oh, man. Okay. END 40:43 END

40:44 So I was drug into that investigation kicking and screaming at first. My at the time, this was a very short version of this. My husband was on furlough whenever this all went down. He works for the federal government. And so one of his coworkers was also on furlough and at the time he was the Dave Ramsey fanatic. END 41:10 END

41:11 So I don't know if you're familiar, but if you work for the federal government and you're on furlough, you do not get paid during furlough. So they were on furlough for several weeks at that time in 2019. And so the coworker picked up a second job. And that was at Clegg that the nursery that Anthony Tom play was working at. So he was there that entire time and when they came back from furlough, this is one thing the documentary kind of was off on. END 41:41 END

41:42 It was the dates. Because it looked like I jumped right in as soon as this happened, but that wasn't the case. It was about a month later. So Anthony was in jail for a while and Elena was beating on every door trying to speak to anyone who would listen at that point. And so they had gotten back from furlough. And my husband makes some sit around the table and kind of share what they do like, even after the weekend. So they had a lot to talk about. END 42:11 END

42:12 And they were all aware of they're aware of my nonprofit, which works with foster children who are usually you know abused or neglected in some way. And then they're also aware of my story with my DNA. So the coworkers, immediately, once they heard what had happened, while the other coworker was at Clegg's, they were like, we need to call Shane out. END 42:37 END

42:37 So they all called me from the conference room on speaker of fire and were like, can you help this kid and I was like, what do you guys think I'm going to do? And I was like, it just sounds like you know this boiled kid that shot his dad. I don't understand. And so they said, please just talk to this lady. And that was Elena. And luckily for Anthony, Elena, I just really loved her. And I thought, you know what? END 43:06 END

43:07 She might be on to something. With all of the things she had brought to the table, I couldn't ignore it. So I said, Elena, you know, I'm going to look into this. And that was on a Monday. And by Thursday, we had Anthony's sister and mom on the phone. Wow. Yeah. That's crazy. That is wild. That is wild. Yeah. Well, I encourage everybody to check out the Netflix series. END 43:37 END

43:37 It's pretty amazing. And you know I could just tell, you know, from just from the little bit that you're in there and, you know, reading about you and reading some of your Facebook posts that's like, oh man, this is a really good person. I'm really looking forward to speaking with her. And so, you know, a couple of your recent Facebook posts get into some stuff that I think is really important when people are, you know, just making these discoveries and reaching out to family. END 44:04 END

44:04 And as you said, it's like, you know, potentially rocking somebody's world. You know, but at the same time, on the flip side, the person who's doing the rocking has felt sometimes a lifetime of one to need and stuff. So it's like they can't kind of help themselves. So what kind of advice do you have for both the person who's doing the knocking and the person who's getting knocked upon? Oh man. So I'm a huge believer in the fact that you can never have too much family. END 44:35 END

44:37 My daughter is adopted, but I did her DNA when she was three. Just say that she would always have that connection to her biological family. And I reached out to her family. We have extra Christmas Day added in for places we have to go because we go and spend with her family. Because I never want her to not know or for it to be taboo or for her to feel like this is a shock to her. END 45:05 END

45:05 She's only 7. And she does understand, but you know I think with Tom she'll understand even more. that's always been my thing is that you know you're not having to give anything up by accepting someone into your family you know. I think that those people deserve to know where they come from at the very least you know information about themselves as far as medical you know. END 45:38 END

45:39 A lot of the pushback we see is from people who are either embarrassed by the situation or sometimes the children. So maybe like a sibling to the person who is having the revelations, they will try to protect their parent from this information, but you know everyone has a right to know if they have a child out there or vice versa. END 46:10 END

46:11 They have a right to know their parents. And I think that those people should be able to make those decisions, but also you know if you are the parent, please just have an open mind and at least give them basic information and answer their questions. It doesn't have to go beyond one conversation. They might not give up like me. But you know just being open and honest with them after the one conversation and giving them some closure, I think most people would be okay with that. END 46:45 END

46:46 Almost all of my clients would be, but to the person looking you know, I always tell my clients if it is a negative reaction that you know whatever happened for you to come about, it wasn't an accident. No matter what anyone says, you were meant to be here, and those people don't define you. And their actions don't define you. END 47:14 END

47:15 At the end of the day, you and your actions to find you. So we can find as much information as possible and I try to give them I do more than just hand over. Here's a name. I will do in-depth research on these people so that they know what they're getting into, but also if that's all they get, then they have more than just a name. Yeah. Wow. END 47:42 END

47:43 I didn't know until we started talking just now that you fostered and then adopted your daughter. That's kudos to you for doing that. Oh, twice. Oh, excellent. That's amazing. A handful of episodes ago, you know, kennel and I introduced the idea that we're looking into fostering and maybe adoption as well. So we're kind of doing the research and stuff now. So I saw that. And I was like, wow. That's awesome. I think thank you. END 48:11 END

48:12 And I think it's wonderful what you did for your daughter. You know, doing the DNA test and getting her so she can have a potential relationship with her family. That's wow. Yeah, I wasn't expecting to hear that, so it's just I'm smiling all over. Well, and unfortunately, both of her parents passed in the last two years. So it was even more important to establish those relationships with her siblings and you know keeping her connected. END 48:44 END

48:45 Right, right? Well, it's interesting you know. When we started this podcast, we didn't really have a great sense of what the whole found family, the DNA, you know, community was like, and it's, it's actually a lot larger than I would have guessed, you know, a couple of years ago. And it's growing because I think, you know, more and more people are, you know, taking that leap and, you know, they're getting DNA tests for Christmas, and here it is, you know, February, so there might be starting to do, getting ready to do their research. END 49:16 END

49:16 You probably are going to get an influx of people reaching out to you. I have actually been waiting on pins and needles because I feel that that giant ancestry sale that they had that it went on for a very long time. I keep telling my clients like just waiting for them all to hit because they might be the key to some of my clients answers you know. So I have been patiently anticipating all of these to process. Are you still at a 100% success rate for your clients? I am. END 49:45 END

49:45 Now, I do have some in a holding pattern right now, but I do not give I don't give up. So I just tell my clients, you know, we might be on pause for a second, but I don't I don't take a client on if it's impossible. And there's been maybe two people that I said, look, I think it's just best to wait. But I give them guidelines you know when you see a match above 200 centimorgans pop up. Give me a call and we're going to go back to it. END 50:15 END

50:16 Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. Well you know, as we see the community grow and more people looking for their family, I'm sure it's going to make you busier, but I definitely think just speaking with you and learning a little bit about you like, there's a TV show here with you. I don't know if that's something you thought about, but there is definitely something, you know, and it's, of course, it's not going to always be good news. It's going to be there's going to be some heartbreak there, but you know I think there's definitely an audience for a show for what you do and your story. END 50:46 END

50:46 It's really remarkable. Thank you. Yeah. I've thought about it you know. My clients, man, some of them have some very interesting stories. And I think they need to be told because I think that there are other people out there and similar situations that could really use the camaraderie, I guess, just to know that they're not alone. Because you know a lot of my clients come to me because they know that I understand how they feel. END 51:18 END

51:19 But even more so to know that there are other people out there that also get it you know, it's just kind of a private matter so you can't really know a lot of people aren't shouting that from the rooftops. Right, right? Well, yeah, we definitely found out that you know when you jump in with all four feet immediately, like you don't necessarily be a shock to the system. END 51:42 END

51:43 But you know, this podcast has been, you know, healing for Kendall and I you know, and getting to know people you know who have gone through similar experiences and completely different experiences and all of the stories are great. And they're all worth being told. So it's definitely been a worthwhile endeavor and I'm so glad that I found you to be yeah. Me too. Yeah, it's great. And you know I love what you're doing. END 52:12 END

52:12 I love that you didn't take that devastation and close it up in your heart you know that you actually used it for healing yourself and helping so many other people. Yeah, it's definitely been a great journey. Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for taking some time and sharing your story. Thanks for having me. It's been really great. Family twist features original music from cosmic afterthoughts and is presented by Savoy fair marketing communications. END 52:45 END

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