Long lost son or Latvian letdown? DNA test will tell

March 22nd, 2008 - 9:44 am ICT by admin  

By Aleks Tapinsh
Riga (Latvia) March 22 (DPA) A Latvian woman faces an agonising wait to discover whether she has been reunited with her long lost child or is the victim of a cruel disappointment. The authorities will need two weeks to release the results of DNA testing to determine if the 16-year-old boy without identity documents and the woman who had lost her son at a supermarket 16 years ago are related.

A family court in Daugavpils - the second largest city in the Baltic nation of 2.3 million - ordered the DNA testing Wednesday after the woman who raised the boy was jailed for an alleged felony.

Court officials grew suspicious about inconsistencies in her story, remembered the child missing since 1992 and found the mother, identified in media reports only as Irina. She and the boy agreed to DNA tests.

The news captivated the city of more than 100,000 people the same way as 16 years ago when someone stole the stroller with Irina’s son from a supermarket foyer. Only the stroller was eventually found.

“Think about it - there are too many coincidences,” the head of the family court, Ligita Strazda, told a Latvian newspaper.

“A woman gains a child at the same time as another woman loses a child. That child has no identity documents and, in some respect, he was hidden from society,” she said.

The woman who raised the boy said her now-deceased husband brought the baby home from Russia’s southern republic of Dagestan in 1992. She gave him a name and he bore her last name. The court indicated the woman did not have any children of her own, local media reported.

Authorities expect the results in two weeks. With the test results pending, the boy is staying with the jailed woman’s relatives.

During the custody hearing this week, it emerged that the 16-year-old - who is due to graduate from high school this year - attended schools, visited doctors and lived a normal life without a legal identity.

Media reported that the woman, herself without proper documents, may have been preparing to flee to Russia and had planned to get documents to obtain a passport for the boy.

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