Most of us have been told, at some point, that we look “just like” someone else. Maybe it was a relative that could’ve passed for a sibling, or a friend that could’ve been your “twin.” It could’ve even been a celebrity that people mistake you for all the time. But whoever your lookalike may be, there’s usually nothing behind the comparison — it’s all in good fun.

Still, what if this kind of uncanny resemblance turned out to be more than just a lighthearted joke? For one Virginia woman, she simply laughed off all the talk that she and a lookalike friend were anything but just that. But as she dug deeper into her past, she discovered a shocking truth that unraveled a generation’s worth of secrets…

In 2004, Rachelle Dyer, a Seattle-based elementary school teacher, moved her family nearly 2,500 miles to Virginia to take a job as an assistant special education teacher at Tallwood Elementary in Virginia Beach.

Rachelle Dyer / Facebook

It was a big change for Rachelle, who left her twin sister, Kristelle, and her adopted family behind in Washington for a place where she had no relatives or friends to speak of. But the faculty at Tallwood quickly took a liking to the new teacher — though it was for a reason no one expected.

Rachelle Dyer / Facebook

Apparently, Rachelle looked almost identical to a former Tallwood teacher named Shannon Nicoll, who was now working at nearby King’s Grant Elementary. Rachelle didn’t see it at first, but the more photos of Shannon the faculty showed her, the more she noticed how similar they looked.

Shannon Holley Nicoll / Facebook

Word of the uncanny resemblance eventually reached Shannon, who couldn’t help but admit that she and Rachel did look very much alike. But all of these comparisons were, of course, just a matter of opinion. The two had never met!

Rachelle Dyer / Shannon Holley Nicoll

Though all that changed in 2009, when a mutual friend invited Rachelle and Shannon to a Kenny Chesney concert. Upon seeing one another for the first time, they both felt that it was “almost like looking in a mirror.”


Yet, as amazed as they were, the two women wrote their resemblance off to pure coincidence. They agreed to remain friends, though a decade later, Rachelle and Shannon would make a discovery that’d turn more than just their two worlds upside down.

Rachelle Dyer / Facebook

In early 2019, the principal of Tallwood Elementary suggested Rachelle take a DNA test. The school was running a student ancestry project at the time, and so she figured some of the teachers would enjoy learning about their own family history, too.

Rachelle, curious to see if the test would reveal anything about her biological mother, obliged, but all that came back was the name Tracey Hall, an apparent cousin. Hoping to find out more about her past, Rachelle eagerly reached out.

Tracey Hall / Facebook

The moment Rachelle told Tracey her name, the stranger knew exactly who she was. Tracey searched for the words to explain the thoughts that raced through her head, and when she found them, she revealed a secret that her mother, Susan Hall, had confessed to her many years before…

Susan Hall / Facebook

According to Tracey, her aunt – a woman named Janice Ainsley – had put twin girls up for adoption back in the ’60s when she found she couldn’t care for them. If Rachelle was truly her biological cousin, then that made Janice the twins’ birth mother!

Jan Ainsley / Facebook

Unfortunately, Janice passed away by the time Rachelle came calling, though that wasn’t the end of her search for her missing links. Though her biological mother had given her and Kristelle (pictured) up, she had two more daughters with another man just a few years later.

Kristelle R Harrington / Facebook

The couple had then relocated to Virginia Beach, where Janice’s children were still living. One of the daughters was a woman named Lisa Holley Vann. The other? Shannon Nicholl.

Shannon Holley Nicoll / Facebook

Rachelle couldn’t believe it — there had been something behind her resemblance to Shannon after all. Not only were the two teachers related, but, being that they shared the same mother, they were actually half-sisters as well!

The Virginian-Pilot

When Shannon and Lisa got the news about their long lost half-sisters, they were shocked. “Lisa and I had no idea at all that our mother had even given birth to twins in the past,” said Shannon. “[Rachelle and Kristelle] knew that they were adopted all these years – so for us, it was pretty mind-blowing.”

Lisa Holley Vann / Facebook

Right away, the sisters knew they had to meet for dinner to finally get to know each other as family. And the moment the four women sat down, they immediately realized that their similarities were more than just skin deep.

Rachelle Dyer / Facebook

From their voices to their personalities to even their interests, the four sisters were nearly identical. Even Shannon’s children couldn’t believe how much Rachelle and Kristelle reminded them of their mother and aunt.

Shannon Holley Nicoll / Facebook

“Both of my children came to the dinner and every time the four of us would laugh they put their hands over their mouths because they couldn’t believe how much we sounded like each other,” Shannon recalled. “I mean, we were finishing each other’s sentences.”

Rachelle Dyer / Facebook

Eventually, the sisters’ incredible story went viral, and even major television shows began to take notice. In fact, all four women were invited to appear on Good Morning America, so that they could share their amazing journey with the world.


To the four of them, this reunion felt like an act of divine intervention, one they were certain their birth mother had a hand in coordinating after her passing. And while Kristelle still lives in Seattle, the sisters vowed that their bond would remain strong forever.

Rachelle Dyer / Facebook

“I’ve never had my own family in Virginia Beach. And Lisa and Shannon don’t have the mom they grew up with there anymore,” Rachelle told GMA. “But I like to think that now they have two new pieces of her in me and Kristelle.”

Lisa Holley Vann / Facebook

 Yet most of the time, finding a lost relation isn’t as simple as just finding someone that looks like you. In the 1960s, for instance, Walter MacFarlane and Alan Robinson were entering Punahou middle school in Honolulu, Hawaii. Luckily for Walt and Alan, whom everyone called “Robi,” the two quickly became friends for life. 

The boys did everything together. They both played on their high school football team, enjoyed playing cribbage, and loved being outdoors. But common interests weren’t all that brought them together.

While Walter never knew his father, Robi never knew either of his biological parents because he had been adopted when he was just a baby. Naturally, because of this, the boys felt a connection on a deeper level.

Despite their age difference of nearly 15 months, the boys were absolutely inseparable. Of course, while they were close they each had other circles of friends, too. It was only natural that they would grow a little bit apart. 

As time passed and the boys grew up, things continued to change. “He was the party-er. I never went to or did any partying in high school,” said Walter, who continued to seriously pursue athletics. 

Robi was always a little less athletically inclined. When he stopped partying and settled down to clean up his act, he began attending aviation school and later became a pilot for Aloha airlines — not a bad job for someone with a lust for adventure!

Still, Walter and Robi remained friends, as they would always care deeply for each other, even if they were living completely different lives. It may seem hard to imagine, but they kept their friendship up for six whole decades!

As Walter aged and became a father, he loved and appreciated the friends and family he had, but he couldn’t help but be curious about the father he never met. So, for Walter’s birthday, his kids gave him a gift that could finally give him some answers…

His daughter, Cindy Macfarlane-Flores, gave him a DNA test. She and her siblings helped Walter take the DNA samples and sent them to the company where they would be matched with others. “So then we started digging into all the results he started getting,” said Cindy.

One of the top matches shared a lot of DNA with Walt and even had an identical X-chromosome. It turned out… Walt had a half-brother! It was then that he noticed the half-brother’s username and nearly fell out of his chair.

The mystery brother was registered under the username “Robi737.” Of course, it immediately reminded Walter of his childhood friend Alan, whose nickname was Robi, and who had become a pilot flying Boeing 737s.

Walter wanted to believe it, but he thought it was too good to be true. Could it really be that he and his childhood best friend were related? Or was it something bigger, like fate bringing them together?

You see, Robi had also turned to Ancestry in order to find his birth parents. “I had a younger brother that I lost when he was 19, so I never had nieces or nephews. I thought ‘I’ll never know my birth mother, will I ever get to meet anyone from my family?'”

When Walter suspected that Robi was indeed the match with the identical chromosome, he ran to the phone and called him up. When he asked if Robi was Robi 737, his suspicions were confirmed: they were half-brothers all along!

“It was a shock,” Walter said. It was an astounding realization that the friends shared the same birth mother, but everything finally fell into place. It made sense to them now why they looked so alike, why they had always felt a special bond…

Walter and Robi met up right after the shocking discovery but neither could believe it was really true. Yet, when they looked down at their arms side by side they knew it was true. “Yea it was a shock, definitely and then we thought about it and compared forearms,” Robi said. “Yea hairy arms, that did it!” Walter added.

After the initial shock wore off, the brothers couldn’t help but reminisce about their youth. “It was so funny because you know when we played for Punahou, we were both first string and we’re brothers, playing side by side,” Walter said. He’s the tackle, I’m the end, and we never knew, you know.”

 “We’d go to Punaluu to go free-diving and fishing,” Robby said. “I’d be making noise in the water splashing around, and he’d be teaching me how to do it right. He’d always come out of the water with the biggest string of fish and I had the smallest.”

The discovery happened just before the holidays, so Walter and Robi gathered their families together to share the incredible news. “This is the best Christmas present I could ever imagine,” Robi said. “It really is a Christmas miracle, and we’re just so happy that we found each other,” Walter added.

The brothers were completely overwhelmed by the news and are still getting used to the fact that they now have each other as more than just friends. They have plans to spend their retirement traveling together and catching up for lost time, as friends, and as brothers.