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Cases of Mistaken Identity Don't Always End So Happily

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Sao Paulo, Brazil—Dimas Aliprandi always suspected that something wasn’t right in his family. In fact, he was always intrigued by the fact that he didn’t resemble his four sisters, who had dark hair and eyes. Aliprandi’s suspicions were raised even more when he was fourteen years old and saw a TV news report on babies that were accidentally swapped at birth because of a hospital’s mistake. Naturally, Aliprandi’s parents weren’t convinced, and also could not afford the expensive DNA test needed to prove whether or not Aliprandi was their biological child. However, in December 2008, when Aliprandi was 24, he decided to pay to have the test done himself. That test revealed his deepest suspicions: he was not the birth son of the parents who had raised him.

Nevertheless, Aliprandi wasn’t angry and instead turned his focus on the hospital where he was born, the Madre Regina Protmann Hospital. Yet, even after seeing the DNA test results, the hospital was still skeptical about Aliprandi’s claim that he was switched at birth with another infant. Instead, the hospital asked him to have another DNA tests, which he did three months later. The DNA results were the same as the first test, and the hospital was then forced to search its records for infants that were born there on the same day. Indeed, Elton Plaster was born on the same day and Aliprandi sought out Plaster and found him on a 35-acre farm where Plaster lived with his parents. The Plasters agreed to do DNA tests.

Consequently, the DNA tests revealed that Plaster was the biological son of the parents that Aliprandi had called mom and dad for a lifetime. In turn, the Plasters were biologically the parents of Aliprandi. The discovery did not cause any upset, and instead sparked a desire to join the two families: about a year ago, the Aliprandis accepted an offer from the Plasters to move to their farm, where they also built a home. Plaster and Aliprandi state that they feel blessed to have two mothers and two fathers who are all living with them.

Other cases of mistaken identities haven’t ended so nicely. Take, for example, the case of two young girls who were involved in a tragic car accident. The family of Abby Guerra spent a week planning their daughter’s funeral after they were told that their 19-year-old had died in a car crash while returning from a trip to Disneyland. The Guerra family was told that their daughter had died at the scene, but six days later, the learned that it was a mix up. Instead, it was 21-year-old Marlena Cantu who died, and Abby was alive in critical condition at a Phoenix Hospital. The Cantu family was also devastated to learn that their daughter was dead and that they had spent hours standing over the bed of a girl who was someone else’s daughter. Prior to learning of the mistake, the Guerra family held a car wash to raise money for their daughter’s funeral. Now that money will go towards her hospital bills and to help fund her friend’s funeral.