A quick message confirmed that they'd found one of McDaniel's grandchildren and, by extension, all three of his daughters.
"It just happened overnight," Thompson said. "We were praying so hard, and in our prayer request we need this done quickly."
A few days later the whole family got on a conference call together - the first time they'd all touched base in nearly three decades.
"That was a day to remember," Thompson said. "We've done more crying and less sleeping and been more excited than any other time."
Now, they want to recreate that experience for Maurice, in person. They're on a mission to get them back to West Virginia to see their father.
That means airfare from Los Angeles to West Virginia for seven people (McDaniel's three daughters and four grandchildren). It's not something McDaniel or Thompson can afford, so they're trying to raise the money from the community. They've set a $5,000 goal to cover travel expenses.
Donations can be mailed to Gloria Thompson for the benefit of Maurice McDaniel, Citi National Bank of West Virginia, P.O. Box 4168, Charleston, W.Va., 25364-9969. For more information call 304-421-2630.
Contact writer Shay Maunz at shay.ma...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4886.