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Baby Swap Victim Gives Opinion

August 7, 1998

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Kimberly Mays, who was switched at birth in a Florida hospital nearly 20 years ago, now thinks children should live with the parents who raise them.

Mays was celebrating her son’s first birthday Wednesday at her central Florida home and didn’t want to discuss the Virginia baby-switching case, said her husband, Jeremy Weeks.

He said the Virginia case reinforces his wife’s stand that children should be allowed to live with the people who raised them _ even if the biological parents later seek custody.

``I think the children should be left alone,″ Weeks said Wednesday. ``She feels the same way.″

Mays was switched at birth with Arlena Twigg at a hospital where they were born within days of each other. The swap became public in 1988 when Arlena, who had been raised by Regina and Ernest Twigg, died of heart disease. Tests showed Arlena was not the Twiggs’ biological child.

Robert Mays, the only father Kimberly had known, battled the Twiggs in the courts for five years for custody. In 1993, Kimberly told a judge she wanted to ``divorce″ the Twiggs.

A judge eventually settled the long, bitter tug-of-war, ruling that the Twiggs had no legal right to act as her parents or even to visit her.

About six months later, however, Kimberly ran away from Mays’ home. She wound up moving in with the Twiggs, although she also ran away from them.

She has since reconciled with both sides.

In the Virginia case, genetic tests should clear the way for officials at University of Virginia Medical Center to learn if Rebecca Grace Chittum was switched with Callie Marie Johnson shortly after birth three years ago.

Genetic tests on Callie Marie and her mother, Paula Johnson, indicated they are not related. Rebecca’s parents, Kevin Chittum and Tamara Whitney Rogers, died in a July 4 car crash and she is being raised by grandparents.

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