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Facebook message unites siblings after 43 years

1:07 AM, Nov 28, 2013   |    comments
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LITHONIA, Ga. -- Whether we admit it or not, many of us spend a little too much time on Facebook every day.

But what if that "wasted time" could lead to a life-changing connection?

It happened for Crystal Rice-Paulk. When she received a strange Facebook message from a strange man, it almost went unanswered.

But something told her to look through the pictures.

"That was my brother," Rick-Paulk said. "I knew immediately by the features, by everything. That was my baby brother."

A baby brother she never even knew existed. One who shared the same father, but grew up with another family just blocks away from Crystal, she says.

Antonio Devine learned the truth years ago from their father, but never worked up the nerve to reach out. After all, he was walking into a family with eight new brothers and sisters.

"I was very nervous," he admitted. "The last thing you want is to be rejected."

That fear soon melted away. Ten days after the Facebook message, it's like the two never skipped a beat.

"I'm glad I did it," Devine said. "It was perfect timing."

But he had no idea how perfect. Just last year, the family lost their younger brother, Monte Walker, to suicide.

"You can't ever replace a sibling that you lost," Rice-Paulk said. "But to have Tony come into our life made our family complete. It brought healing to our family."

Devine will meet the entire family Thursday when they gather for Thanksgiving dinner.

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