DNA Test Proves Texas Baby Switched at Birth
Texas couple, Mercedes Casanella and Richard Cushworth, recently learned that life is far stranger than fiction as they begin the process of getting to know their son, Moses, after he was switched at birth four months ago. The story of baby Moses is something right out of a daytime soap opera or a bad made for TV movie and all started in the quiet hospital Mercedes gave birth in while performing missionary work in her native El Salvador five weeks before her actual due date.
Casanella was able to hold her newborn son after his birth and she says he had a light complexion and strongly resembled Cushworth, who was en route to the hospital and had yet to meet the baby. She said, “I was very stressed at first because the baby took a while to start breathing, but then I held him and remember thinking that he looked a lot like my husband.”
However, she quickly grew concerned when the baby was brought to her room the following day. She noticed that his skin tone was significantly darker and appeared to be more swollen than she recalled it being previously, saying “he was very different to the one I had in the delivery room.” Feeling uneasy about the baby’s appearance, Casanella voiced her concerns to hospital staff who quickly dismissed them and assured her that all was well.
The hospital soon released the new mom and baby boy, but Casanellas simply couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. She and Cushworth made their way home to Texas where they would spend the next four months feeling as though the baby they were raising as their own wasn’t really their son and fearing that he had been stolen and sold into human trafficking. The doubt and fear quickly became too much for the couple, prompting them to conduct DNA tests to find out the truth.
The results quickly confirmed their worst fear, the baby boy was not their biological child. They were devastated by this news, but steadfast in their determination to find their son and return the baby in their care to his parents.
Contacting the hospital where Casanellas delivered was the first step towards solving this heartbreaking puzzle. The hospital began an investigation and reviewed the records of the four male infants born on the same day four months prior. A legal paternity test was performed on each baby, quickly revealing that Casanallas and Cushworth weren’t the only family raising a child that wasn’t their own as the result of a gross oversight by the hospital staff.
Elated by the news, both families met in an El Salvador court where they were reunited with their biological sons in an emotional exchange that was four months in the making. “There are no words to express what our hearts feel to have our baby at home! Thanks to all who joined our pain and fed our hope,” Casanella and Cushworth said in a statement.
The obstetrician who delivered Moses, Dr. Alejandro Guidos, was arrested in the wake of the mix up and has since been released on bond and ordered not to leave the country. An investigation is still underway in an effort to determine if he intentionally swapped the babies with the intent to sell Moses to human traffickers. Hospitals in El Salvador are also said to be under review as officials set out to prevent further incidents from occurring.