A mother’s intuition about her newborn son has proven correct when an American couple learned the devastating news that the four-month-old baby they were raising is not theirs. Yesterday the parents finally held their biological son in their arms in an emotional reunion that has left a trail of unanswered questions.
On May 21 2015 Mercedes Casnellas delivered a healthy baby boy, with rosy cheeks, white skin and a bald head in Centro Ginecologico hospital in El Salvador where she was working as a missionary for a church.
Mercedes took photos of her son, whom she and her husband, Richard Cushworth named Jacob, before the nurses whisked him away and gave her an anaesthetic that put her to sleep for the night.
The next day Jacob was returned to Mercedes, but with a head full of black hair and a darker complexion. Mercedes slightly confused, asked the nurses if this was her son and was assured that, yes, it was.
The young family returned to their home in Dallas, USA, but as Mercedes cared for, breastfed and watched her son grow, the feeling that something wasn’t quite right continued to linger.
“My motherly instincts kept telling me that he wasn’t mine,” she says.
The couple’s worst nightmare came true when a DNA test proved that little Jacob has a 0.00 per cent probability of being their son.
This week the devastated couple returned to El Salvador desperately searching for answers with a horrifying feeling that their son could be the victim of a human trafficking scheme. The officials immediately called for DNA tests to be performed on four other boys born the same day and the results proved what Mercedes knew all along.
Yesterday, for the first time in four months, Mercedes and Richard cuddled their rosy-cheeked biological son. The couple will return to the United States with their biological son and the other baby is expected to be reunited with his biological parents too.
Richard said, “It’s a horrible situation for me, for her [Mercedes], for my family, her family. A child is an experience you have for a lifetime… this is a life-long injury that’s very, very deep, and it’s horrible.”
The Attorney General of El Salvador has now ordered a criminal investigation into the situation with concerns that a trafficking gang, led by Mercedes’s doctor, Dr Guidos, had been operating inside the hospital. Dr Guidos has since been arrested and released on bail.
Francisco Meneses, the couple’s lawyer, told the media, “We don’t have anything against the people who were involved during the baby’s birth, but we want all these people, from the doctor who performed the surgery, the paediatrician, anaesthesiologist, and the two nurses who were in the delivery room to tell us what happened.”