crimesider

Missing Man Speaks

NEW YORK(CBS/AP) John Barnes, the man who believes he was snatched from his real parents in New York half a century ago, told the Today show Thursday that he never fit into the family that raised him and believed the woman that raised him tried to tell him the truth on her death bed.

"As I got older I realized how different I was from my mother and father and something wasn't right," Barnes said. "I wasn't sure if I was kidnapped or switched at birth or adopted, I just knew I did not come from these people."

Meanwhile, back in Kalkaska, Mich., the man who raised Barnes told the Associated Press he thinks the idea is a "bunch of foolishness."

"I'm his dad," said Richard Barnes on Wednesday. He replied, "No, no," when asked by a reporter whether he had kidnapped John Barnes.

John Barnes has long suspected the couple who raised him were not his biological parents, and now he's awaiting DNA tests to find out if he was the 2-year-old boy who disappeared outside a bakery in Long Island, New York while his mother shopped inside.

He told the Today Show he's "pretty confident" that the tests will indicate he was the missing boy.

"I've always wanted to know who my real relatives were and where I came from," he told the interviewer.

Cheryl Barnes, Richard's daughter, said she was "flabbergasted" by John's claims and was willing to undergo DNA testing to prove they are biological siblings.

"I can't begin to know why he would think this," said Cheryl Barnes, 50. "Everybody in my family thinks John looks just like my dad."

For his part, John Barnes said he never really bonded with the mother and father who raised him. He said they didn't look like him and just didn't seem like family.

"I just had a hunch that something was fishy," said Barnes, a laborer who is now in his 50s.

"I never asked them if they kidnapped me. I asked them why I was so different from them," he said of his parents.

Police in New York have said a Michigan man contacted their office in the past few months saying he believed he was the missing toddler. Barnes said the FBI took a sample of his DNA via a cheek swab in March.

"I don't know if I'm related to the Dammans or the Barneses. I'm just waiting for the DNA results," he said during an interview at his mobile home, located on a dirt road in Kalkaska, almost 200 miles (320 kilometers) northwest of Detroit, where he lives with his wife and dog.

Years earlier, Barnes started his own investigation and found some potential answers on the Internet — a few pictures that led him to conclude he could be the missing toddler, Stephen Damman.

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  • Neil Katz

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