A man and his wife say they believe their baby was swapped at birth at a private hospital in El Salvador and sold to human traffickers.
In excerpts of an interview, Mercedes Casanellas says she and her husband Richard Cushworth would like to be reunited with their son — and reunite the child they currently have with his mother — but if that doesn’t happen they have no plans to abandon the child in their care.
“I have a beautiful baby at home,” Casanellas says in a translation of the interview. “It’s not mine and maybe there’s another mother suffering the same as I am and perhaps I have her baby.”
According to Daily Mail, Casanellas and Cushworth, who live in Texas, traveled to San Salvador, El Salvador’s capital, in May so Casanellas could deliver their child in her home country.
She said she had always thought it was odd that the doctor at the Hospital Centro Ginecologico kept insisting that her child would be born with dark skin, despite the father being white.
“How would he know that from the ultrasound scans, and why would he keep saying it?” Casanellas was quoted as saying in the Daily Mail, remembering previous visits to Dr. Alejandra Guidos.
She said she briefly got to her hold her son after the birth, and that the child she delivered had white skin like his father.
“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,” Casanellas said. “He was very white and had similar features. I remember seeing his genitals and thinking that they were white and pinkish.”
She was soon visited by an anesthesiologist, she claims, who told her she was nervous and was going to be given something to put her to sleep.
“After that I don’t remember anything, until I woke up the next morning,” she said.
That’s when Casanellas claims she was given a different child with darker skin.
“Around 8 a.m., they started to bring the babies to their mothers, and I waited for mine,” she said. “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.”
She pointed the differences out to a nurse who reportedly told her that was normal.
The couple, trying their best to suppress their doubts, took the baby home to Dallas, Texas. Three months later they decided to have a DNA test.
The test reportedly revealed there was no chance the child was biologically related to them.
They returned to El Salvador and reported their findings to authorities.
The couple reportedly checked with all other children born at the hospital that day and they are all with their correct parents. They believe that reinforces the theory that their son was stolen and sold to human traffickers.
Daily Mail reports that Guidos has since been arrested and authorities and prosecutors are reportedly conducting a criminal investigation to determine if the doctor was part of trafficking gang operating within the hospital.
“I just want him to give me my baby back,” Casanellas said, according to the Daily Mail. “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.”
She said again that if both children can’t be reunited with their proper parents she plans to raise the child she has as her own.
“If they can’t find his mother, he already has parents, us,” she said. “We are taking care of him and, even though we know he isn’t our biological son, we still love him.”