DNA Tests Lead 2 Men, Both 77, to Learn They Were Switched at Birth

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Two men who discovered they were switched at birth are now suing, saying the mishap caused a “lifetime of consequences.” John William Carr III and Jackie Lee Spencer were born Aug. 29, 1942, at St. Joseph Hospital in West Virginia, but were accidentally sent home with the wrong families, according to a lawsuit they filed in Monongalia County Circuit Court last Friday.

Spencer had been looking for the man he thought was his biological father who had allegedly abandoned him, but a DNA test came back and proved that not only was the man not his father, but he was not biologically related to any of his family, the lawsuit, obtained by the Dominion Post, alleged.

The DNA test led him to Carr’s family, and when Spencer also tested his DNA, he found it matched him to Spencer’s family, according to the suit.  

The men, who are now both 77, are suing the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, which runs the hospital. The families of both men are mostly deceased now, so they won’t have the chance to meet, according to the lawsuit.

“Many of the people Jack should have known his entire life are gone,” the lawsuit says of Spencer’s heartache. “He feels as though most of his family died all at once. He grieves for the loss of the life he was supposed to have, while reconciling those feeling with the love and gratitude he feels for the family he has known his whole life.”

Carr also said the mix-up called emotional damage it caused, because his father allegedly beat him and his mother because his father thought he was the product of an affair.

“I never felt like I fit in here because my mother and dad had brown hair and brown eyes, and so do my brother and sister,” Carr said in the lawsuit.

The men reportedly met for the first time last year.

“It was a strong mixture of emotions,” their attorney, Charles Crooks, told the Daily Mail. “They’re glad to know each other and they are glad to know the truth.”

The Roman Catholic diocese has said they do not comment on pending litigation.

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