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Russian families sue in switched-at-birth case

Newborn babies in nursery, maternity ward, infant, infants AP

A life-changing mistake 12 years ago has now led to a lawsuit.

Two Russian families from the Kopeisk town in the Ural Mountains are suing their local maternity hospital after they've learned they received the wrong babies in 1998, BBC News reported.

The discovery came after the former husband of Yuliya Belyaeva, refused to pay child support for their daughter, Irina, saying that she did not bear a resemblance to him. After Belyaeva took her former husband to court, a DNA test showed that the child was not related to either parent.

"The judge couldn't believe it," Belyaeva told BBC News. "She said she'd only seen cases like this on TV and didn't know what to advise us."

She said he made a copy of the DNA results, then went to the prosecutors office and filed a complaint that she had the wrong baby.

In their search for the other mother, investigators discovered that she lived nearby. According to The Telegraph, it turned out that Irina Belyaeva was actually the daughter of a Muslim family.

Apparently, the babies were born 15 minutes apart of each other in the same ward but their midwives mixed up their tags since the mothers' maiden names both began with the letter A, reported USA Today.

"It was true," Yuliya Belyaeva said to the BBC. "Their daughter, Anya, was blond and looked just like me and my ex-husband. And our daughter was dark-skinned and had dark hair and looked like the other father. He's a Tajik, and she looked just like him.

"Suddenly my whole world turned upside down and inside out."

Belyaeva said that both children did not want to leave their homes; she assured Irina that she is still her mother.

When Belyaeva met her biological daughter, Anya, she said: "As soon as I saw her, it was like looking at a copy of me as a child."

Both families are asking for $158,300 in compensation from the hospital for "moral trauma." They could not file criminal charges because of the amount of time that had passed since the mix-up.

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