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Eau Claire next-door neighbors discover they’re long lost sisters

Eau Claire (WQOW) — It’s a story that’s almost too fantastic to believe. New next-door neighbors in Eau Claire come to realize they’re actually long lost sisters. 

Last summer, Dawn Johnson made the move from Greenwood to a home on Eau Claire’s west side. 

"We found this house, it was a fixer upper," Johnson told News 18. "This house was postponed three times for closing. Somehow the house, I just, I wanted the house. I didn’t want to give up." 

She felt something was drawing her to the home and her new next-door neighbors, especially little Stella. 

"A little girl from next door would constantly come over," Johnson said. "I have two boys, so a little girl was like heaven because I’ve never had little girls and all she wanted to do was ‘Ready, Set, Go!’" 

At first, Stella’s mom, Hillary Harris of Eau Claire, was unsure about letting her daughter hang around the new neighbors. 

"I’m like ‘Stella! What are you doing?! We don’t even know who they are! Like, leave them alone! They may not even like little kids,’" Harris recalled. 

Rewind to 2012, when a pregnant Hillary, who was adopted as a baby, started searching for the health history of her birth family. Hillary learned the names of her birth parents and siblings and even where they were from. One of her sisters was from Greenwood and named Dawn Johnson. 

So when Hillary met new next-door Dawn, also from Greenwood, she had an inkling, but no real answers because she didn’t know Dawn’s last name. That is until a very special delivery landed in their shared driveway, with the name Johnson on it. 

"My stomach dropped," said Harris. "I called my husband right away, I was like "Lance! Her name’s Johnson, it’s Dawn Johnson! She’s from Greenwood, like, it’s gotta be her, you know! This would explain why Stella likes her so much and it was just crazy!"

After a couple of days, and some encouragement from her husband, Hillary found the courage to confront the woman she was now sure was her sister. 

"Anyway I called her and was like ‘Do you remember how I told you I was adopted,’" Harris said. "[Dawn] goes, ‘Yes.’ And then she said …"

"’Me and you have the same dad, don’t we,’" Johnson finished. "[Hillary] goes, ‘Yeah.’ I’m like Oh my God!"

"We talked for a while, a long while that night. Sent messages back and forth and she showed up with flowers the next day on my door step," Harris said. "That literally consumed our whole summer then. It’s been consuming us for a long time, but we’re finally getting used to it. But when we tell people it’s still a shocker, you know?"

"I’m very happy to have a wonderful neighbor, also my sister and I get to watch my niece! And she gets to play and I get to feel young yet," said Johnson. 

News 18 will bring you part two of this story on the 10:00 p.m. newscast.

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