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Saturday, June 20, 2009

FBI: Test Confirms Michigan Man Not Long-Missing New York Boy

June 20, 2009

DETROIT — DNA testing disproved a Michigan man's suspicions that he was a toddler kidnapped on New York's Long Island in 1955, the FBI said Thursday, closing a chapter in a bizarre mystery that started after he began researching his roots on the Internet.

The FBI said in a statement that a test showed John Barnes, an unemployed man in his 50s who lives in a trailer in northwest Michigan, is not Stephen Damman, who disappeared at age 2 from outside an East Meadow market while his mother shopped.

The sample showed Barnes could not have the same mother as Pamela Damman Horne, the sister of the toddler who was with him when he disappeared, the FBI said. She was found in her stroller, unharmed, around the corner from the market.

The case had raised the hopes of the toddler's father, Jerry Damman, who runs a 440-acre farm in Iowa, and stunned the community where the Halloween kidnapping occurred. Damman, now 78, had said he hoped for a resolution after five decades of silence. "It's too bad we had to go through all of this for actually nothing in the end," he told The Associated Press.

Barnes has said he has long suspected the couple who raised him are not his biological parents, and the FBI took his DNA sample after he connected with Horne and took a trip to Iowa to try and catch a glimpse of the man he believed to be his father. He said he began investigating his origins years ago because he believed he never fit in...

Barnes did bear a striking resemblance to a photo of the missing toddler... But his father, Richard Barnes, immediately dismissed the speculation as "a bunch of foolishness," and said John Barnes was born in a Navy hospital in Pensacola, Fla., on Aug. 18, 1955.

Cheryl Barnes, John Barnes' sister, said she was not surprised by the test results. Mending fences, she said, won't be easy. "He pretty much lost two families today," she said.
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Anonymous said...

Oh bummer. I was excited about this one.


Janet said...

Me too.

And I feel sad for John, to have felt so alone in his life. I wonder if his living siblings or father would take dna tests as well, just to put the entire issue to rest for John.