Parents of a newborn baby fear their child was swapped by hospital staff and sold to traffickers. DNA tests revealed the child they were given was not theirs.
Richard Cushworth and his wife Mercedes Casanellas launched a frantic plea to find their son. They fear he was swapped with another child and claim their OB-GYN picked their newborn baby because the infant had light skin — worth a high price on the black market.
Richard and Mercedes live in the United States, but Mercedes is Salvadorian and she wanted to give birth to her baby in her home country of El Salvador.
After giving birth, the couple decided to have a DNA test when they returned to the U.S. because they noticed the infant didn’t look like either one of them.
To their horror, they were right — the baby was not their child.
Emotional and teary, Ms. Casanellas was interviewed by a local television station, according to a report by The Daily Mirror.
“We haven’t been able to sleep thinking about where he is, and who has him. We just want them to give us our son back.”
According to the family, they investigated all the other babies born at the hospital on the same day and found that all of the newborns were with their correct parents. This discovery reinforced their belief that their child was stolen.
Richard Cushworth commented about the horrific set of events.
“It’s a horrible situation. I have a child and I don’t know where he is. Someone took my child and I have no idea where he is, who is taking care of him, what has happened to him. Is he in the country? It’s awful.”
The couple accused Ms. Casanella’s obstretrician-gyneocologist, Dr. Alejandra Guidos, of masterminding the plot. Dr. Guidos was arrested on Thursday, according to their family’s lawyer, Francisco Meneses.
Ms. Casanellas claimed that, from the fifth month of her pregnancy, she remembered Dr. Guidos repeatedly told her that her baby would be dark-skinned, even though the father is white.
Mercedes explained the chain of events.
“I always thought that was strange. How would he know that from the ultra-sound scans, and why would he keep saying it? 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 like my husband. He was very white and had similar features. I remember seeing his genitals and thinking that they were white and pinkish.”
Ms. Casanellas commented more about her suspicion.
“But then the anesthetist came and told me that I was very nervous and that they were going to give me something to put me to sleep. After that, I don’t remember anything, until I woke up the next morning. Someone took my child and I have no idea where he is, who is taking care of him, what has happened to him”
Mercedes recalls the strange circumstances taking place at the hospital.
“Around 8 a.m., they started to bring the babies to their mothers, and I waited for mine. But when I took him, I saw that he was very different to the one I had held in the delivery room. When I changed his clothes, I noticed that his genitals were very dark and not rosy like how I’d remembered. I said to the nurse, ‘look, his genitals are very dark’, and she told me, ‘no, that’s normal, that’s normal.'”
Ms. Casanellas took photos of her baby son immediately after the birth, proving that the baby was white-skinned.
Although they had doubts, the couple took the baby back home to Dallas, Texas, but over the coming months, family and friends also noticed the child did not resemble the parents and also had a darker color.
Ms. Casanellas talked about their shocking reality.
“I would take photos of him and put them next to my husband, trying to find something of us in him. I kept trying to convince myself that he was really ours, that over time we would begin to see a resemblance. But my motherly instincts kept telling me that he wasn’t mine.”
The couple finally found the courage to take a DNA test when the baby was three months old. The results showed he has a 0.00 per cent probability of being their son.
The couple returned to El Salvador in a desperate effort to find their baby.
The Daily Record reports that, initially, San Salvador’s Ginecologico hospital, considered the best private hospital in the country, denied that the baby could have been swapped, saying it was “impossible” due to their “high standards” of control.
However, following the family’s high-profile television interview, and after Dr. Guidos’s arrest, the hospital ordered an internal investigation and promised that the situation will be rectified.
El Salvador’s Attorney General ordered a criminal investigation into the baby’s disappearance amid claims a trafficking gang, led by Dr. Guido, has been operating inside the hospital.
Ms. Casanellas said, “I just want him to give me my baby back. I want to know that my child hasn’t been trafficked or any other crime committed against him. I need my baby, I’m just asking for my baby.”
Richard and Mercedes said that, if the true parents of the baby they were given are not found, they will raise him as their own.
Mercedes said, “If they can’t find his mother, he already has parents, us. We are taking care of him and, even though we know he isn’t our biological son, we still love him.”
[Featured image via Collect]