Thanks to a church leader and the power of the Internet, a 94-year-old woman has been reunited with her son after almost seven decades, NBC News reports.
Emma Rymes last saw her son, Robert Fainelli, 67 years ago.
She and her husband had gone through a bitter divorce and she had moved to California from Connecticut under the assumption that her 6-year-old son would soon be joining her on the West coast.
Instead, Rymes' ex-husband took Fainelli and disappeared, the Victorville Daily Press reports.
"You wouldn’t believe how many years I’ve thought of him and tried to find him but never did," said Rymes.
Decades went by but Rymes, who now lives in a senior living facility in Apple Valley, Calif., refused to give up hope.
Last month, she told her sister-in-law, Mary Fantino, that she wanted to renew the search for her son.
According to NBC News, Fantino then went to her priest, Father Nicholas Carpenter, for help.
"I went on the computer and started going over the search engines, just trying to find his name and where there might be a relationship," Carpenter said. "It came up fairly quickly."
After a few hours on Google, Carpenter said that he found an address for a 73-year-old man named Robert Fainelli.
Fantino immediately wrote him a letter.
"I told him if he was not interested it was O.K. because his mother knows nothing of what this letter is," Fantino said. "I mailed the letter on Tuesday and then Thursday morning at 9 o’clock, I got a call from him. I thought I was gonna pass out right there."
Fainelli, who is married and has children -- and grandchildren -- of his own, said he'd been looking for his mother for more than 40 years.
Mother and son were reunited last month.
"I had lost most of my family and thought I was alone," Rymes told the Victorville Daily Press last week. "Now I have a son and grandchildren. This will be the best Mother’s Day ever."
Rymes has yet to meet her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but NBC News reports that she cannot wait to do so.
Note: Emma Rymes' and Robert Fainelli's names are spelled differently in the NBC News and Victorville Daily Press reports. NBC News has used the names Emma Rymas and Robert Fianelli. For consistency, we have followed the spelling used by the Victorville Daily Press.