Two infants are back in the hands of their parents four months after authorities say they were switched at birth. Richard Cushworth and Mercedes Casanella of Dallas, Texas, visited El Salvador to give birth to their child in Casanella's home country in May. But Cushworth says the happy occasion turned into "a horrible situation" when his wife suspected she was handed the wrong child to take home. The boy had different features and darker skin than the child she saw immediately after birth, she tells the Guardian. When the couple returned to the US, however, relatives noticed the child didn't look like his parents and the clip on his umbilical cord was a different color than in an early photo. A DNA test eventually confirmed their worst fears: The baby boy belonged to someone else.
Though the couple feared their child was sold to child traffickers, DNA tests on the male children of other new mothers soon led them to their baby. The family who had been caring for the child never noticed anything amiss. The two boys were exchanged in the office of the Prosecutor General in San Salvador yesterday. Though Cushworth tells the BBC "this is a life-long injury that's very, very deep," he adds the couple is "absolutely thrilled" to hold their own child. Authorities are now pursuing a case against Casanella's doctor, Alejandro Guidos, who denies any wrongdoing. His lawyers have requested a new DNA test, while a doctor's association notes a baby is immediately handed to the neonatologist or pediatric nurse after birth. "So if there is any swapping of the baby it is impossible for the obstetrician to do this," the group says. (These girls were switched at birth in 1994.)