Siblings Reunited After 34 Years Thanks to DNA Kit


S. Sierra, Staff Writer

The year was 2014 when Justin Kragt, who was living in Oregon, took a DNA test to look for distant relatives; four years later in California, Renee Alanko took a DNA test to see her heredity health links. Little did these two know their two worlds would soon collide, thanks to a DNA test.

2-year-old Justin Kragt was found alone and crying outside of a theater in Seoul, South Korea in 1984 and not far from there a 4-year-old Renee Alanko was found in a market, alone. The women that found her, found a note inside Renee’s pocket saying she did not have parents and to take her to the nearest police station. Her father had taken her to the market, gave her some money and told her to go inside to buy a treat, but never returned. They soon were both adopted into separate families and moved to the U.S. Justin was taken to Salem, Ore. while Renee was taken to Pleasanton, Calif.

They lived normal lives with these families and though they were loving, it still didn’t answer the questions they had about their past. Until one day Justin, now 31-years-old, wanted to find out more about his past relatives and his background, so he took a DNA test. Four years later Renee, now 38-years-old, wanted to find out more about her heredity health link because she wanted to have kids soon. She took the DNA test (23andMe) and about a week later she got the results. “The results were fine, then I started to explore the other tabs just to see what else was on there, and I saw under ‘Tools’ it said, ‘DNA relatives’,” said Renee in an interview with ABC News. She began looking and saw something she did not expect to ever see, “It said ‘Justin, 35, Salem, Ore.’ and it said ‘23andMe predicts this is your brother’,” she said. With this new information, Renee decided to try and find him via Facebook and messaged him saying, “Hi Justin, I think I might be your biological sister.” Once Justin received the message he immediately replied saying, “Is this a joke?” He was in for the surprise of his life.

They stayed in touch and messaged each other regularly, until recently when Renee took a trip to Oregon to visit him and finally meet face to face. Renee said on the day they met, “I knew about him [growing up], I just never thought I would get to meet him…… This is amazing.” As they finally met in the airport on Justin’s 36th birthday, all they could do was hug and cry at the thought that after 34 years they finally felt at peace to know they were never alone. “It was the best present I ever got!” Justin told ABC News. “I always thought I was alone in the world and I was content with that,”said Justin.  “Now you’re stuck with me!” Renee said to her brother. Though it is not clear why they were abandoned in the first place or who their parents really were, it’s reassuring to them that either way, they still have each other.