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DNA testing leads Valley woman to unknown family members living nearby

Posted at 10:25 PM, Sep 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-06 01:25:18-04

A Valley woman determined to decipher her past, now has big plans for the future.

"I had one childhood friend that lived out here when I moved out here and otherwise I didn't know a soul," said Elizabeth Bolt.  

It's now been eight years since Bolt left Louisiana for Arizona and things have changed quite a bit, thanks to a 23andMe DNA test. 

"This scenario never entered my mind," Bolt said.

She found family she never knew existed. Cousins, more than a dozen, living right here in the Valley. 

"She just reached out to us, and it’s like we’ve known her all of our lives," said Elizabeth's cousin Jerry Goldsmith. "It's been neat."

"We had Elizabeth over for Thanksgiving, and that’s the first time we met her," said Holly Fleckenstein, Elizabeth's second cousin.

Bolt's results did not just yield one or two DNA matches.  At last check, it was at more than 1,600, spread out all across the country.

"I’ve actually, including these guys here, met 54 people in person in three states," Bolt said.

More than 30 family members will get together in Tennessee next month. 

"I'm an only child so to suddenly have this big family that I get to see all the time is pretty amazing," Bolt said.

It's all part of a new chapter on this surprising journey.  Complete with new faces and a new perspective on family. 

"How important those relationships are, and it’s just really cool," Bolt said. "I feel very lucky to say that I have family right here."