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Seven decades later, 94-year-old mom reunites with son

The last time Emma Rymas, 94, had seen her only child was nearly seven decades ago. Living in Connecticut at the time, she and her husband had just gone through a bitter divorce. 

Rymas moved to California with the understanding that her then 6-year-old son, Robert Fianelli, would soon be joining her. But the boy never came: Rymas says her ex-husband kept Fianelli from her, though she wouldn't offer more details. 

"I was broken hearted, but I couldn't do anything," Rymas said.

But Rymas never gave up. Last month, from her home in Apple Valley, Calif., Rymas told her sister-in-law, Mary Fantino, she wanted to renew the search for her son. Fantino went to a church leader for help.

"I said, well, give me the info you have about him, and I'll try," Father Nicholas Carpenter said.

After a few hours on Google, Carpenter found an address for Fianelli in Nevada, near Reno. He gave it to Fantino, who sent a letter to him, hoping it was the same Robert Fianelli that Rymas said goodbye to 67 years ago.

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"I didn't know how he was going to react," Fantino said.

He reacted well: Fianelli called her back when he received the letter, and Fantino broke the news to his mother.

“The look on her face was just -- and I don’t want to cry -- it was really something,” Fantino said, holding back tears.

Rymas was overjoyed. Mother and son were reunited on April 5.

"The first thing he said was, 'Hello, Mom!'" she said.

Fianelli, now 73, had been traveling around the world with the Navy, but currently works as a mailman in Nevada. He lives with his wife and has a son and daughter, who have children of their own. Rymas hasn't met her grandchildren and great-grandchildren yet, but plans to.

"I'm as happy as I can be," Rymas said from her home at Merrill Gardens, a senior living facility.

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