PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - The search a West Palm Beach woman conducted on Facebook led to something incredible. When D'Atra Franklin's mother died 17 years ago, D'Atra and her younger brother were separated. Each was sent to live with their own father. D'atra didn't know if her brother was even alive until last week.
"One night, I was talking on the phone with a friend and she said 'You really should try to find him'," said D'Atra. After 17 years, D'Atra tried to do just that through Facebook. "I don't know why I waited this long, but I'm not questioning it," she said.
D'atra thought her brother, Donte, had gone with his father to Haiti. There was a chance, she believed, that he may have died there. "We hoped for the best but thought the worst after the earthquake in Haiti," she said.
Still, she pressed on with her Facebook search. "Typed in the last name of what I remember people telling me his last name was and he was the first name that popped up," But was this teenage athlete she saw really Donte? "I said 'Calm down D'Atra, this might not be it'." But she messaged him anyway.
"I said 'What's your mom's name?'," she asked him. "He said 'I don't have a mom'." That response assured D'Atra of who this young man really was. "The tears just started coming down my face and I just knew he was my brother," she said.
Donte was not in Haiti after all. It turns out that he has been much closer the entire time. 18 year old Donte Sylencieux is a standout wide reciever on the Boynton Beach high school football team. "I'm just surprised and just happy that I get to know who my sisters are," said Donte.
D'Atra and Donte met in person just last week. "He was right up under our nose the whole time," said D'Atra. "You find everything on Facebook," she said. "You find things that you don't want to see and then you find things that you've always wanted to know."
Donte has been living with his aunt and uncle in Boynton Beach after he lost his father in a car crash not long ago. He and his sister intend to stay in close contact now and even spend the holidays together as family.