Separated brothers reunite, both living in Sioux Falls

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - This summer Facebook helped a Sioux Falls man connect with a brother he'd never met.

“I had a birth date, really is all I had,” Stewart Oaks said. “Knowing that I had a brother somewhere, but not knowing where or how or anything like that.”

Stewart Oaks has always known he had a younger brother, but it took decades for him to consider looking.

“My biggest fear at the time was that he wouldn't want to have anything to do with me,” Oaks said.

But after 63 years of wondering, his family finally convinced him to start a search.

“My daughter came up with this idea, she said let’s make a poster, and just put it out there on Facebook and see what happens,” Oaks said.

Within 48 hours his picture was shared by more than 6,500 people.

“When I first saw it, it didn't have his eyes, it just had it from like his mouth down, and I looked at that, and I said, ‘I see that every morning in the mirror when I get ready for work,'” Mark Payne said.

It’s the look-a-like brother Mark Payne always knew was somewhere in the world.

“Whenever I thought about it I imagined across the world, miles apart, states apart, continents apart, I really didn't know,” Payne said. “But I never would have imagined that we were both here in Sioux Falls this whole time.”

The search that began around the world ended in their hometown.

“Almost our entire lives, we were probably no more than two miles away from each other, the whole time,” Payne said.

Big brother Stewart went to Washington High School while little brother Mark graduated at O’Gorman just six years later.

“We both ran track, he loves basketball, I played basketball, we both high jumped in high school,” the brothers said.

An even crazier connection, both of their dads worked at the Sioux Falls VA hospital.

“They had to have known each other, just don't think they ever would have had the discussion or made the connection or anything like that,” the brother said.

After high school, each brother settled in Sioux Falls to raise their own family.

“We’re enjoying our journeying, enjoying getting to know each other and our families together,” Oaks said.

After meeting for the first time this summer, they found out that despite the missed decades, it's easy to tell the connection between these newly found brothers.

"My kids and my wife said if you don't think that's your brother you're crazy because you're doing the same thing,” Payne said.

The brothers say their families constantly talk about how much they both talk with their hands and use the same gestures.

“When we talk on the phone I feel like I’m talking to myself,” Payne said.

“Biologically there's somethings you can't change,” Oaks said.

The brothers said it’s possible they may have crossed paths around Sioux Falls at some point in their lives, never knowing the strong connection they share.