Twigg v. Mays
Switched At Birth
Kimberly Mays was born to Ernest and Regina Twigg of Sebring, Florida, in 1978 at Hardee Memorial Hospital in Wauchula, a small rural town in Florida. Somehow her identification tag was switched at the hospital with another girl's and Kimberly went home with the wrong parents. As a result, the Twiggs raised the other girl, Arlena who at ten years of age died during heart surgery in 1988. Shockingly, blood tests taken at the hospital revealed that Arlena was not related to the Twiggs. The Twiggs, from their Langhorne, Pennsylvania home, began a nationwide search for their biological daughter.
Kimberly had gone home with Robert and Barbara Mays. Barbara later died of cancer and a second marriage of Robert's ended in divorce. The Twiggs' search led them to Robert, a roofing salesman, living alone with the girl he thought of as his only child.
For a year the Twiggs, who had seven other children ages 9 to 24, insisted Robert Mays submit to genetic testing. They even moved back to Florida to be near Kimberly. Robert finally relented, but had the Twiggs sign an agreement promising that should Kimberly be their biological daughter, they would only seek visitation rights, not actual custody. The tests indeed proved that Kimberly was the Twiggs' biological daughter. Visits by the Twiggs to see Kimberly began in 1990. However, Robert abruptly stopped the visits after only five sessions claiming they were too disruptive to the girl's schoolwork and attitude. For the next several years, the Twiggs fought Robert over Kimberly.
In the meantime, the book The Baby Swap Conspiracy was published. The author, Loretta Schwartz-Nobel, suggested the baby switch at the Wauchula hospital had been intentional. Kimberly was greatly disturbed by the books claims about her father and deceased mother. Kimberly, wanting to stay with Robert who had raised her for nearly 15 years, saw a television movie about young Gregory Kingsley who had just successfully sued his mother in Florida for termination of parental rights. Kimberly contacted Gregory's new father and lawyer, George Russ, to represent her against her biological parents. Kimberly cited allegations made against Robert by Ernest and Regina Twigg as the reason she wished to terminate relations with the Twiggs and be adopted by Robert. The Twiggs' questioned Kimberly's legal guidance in pursuing such a case and contended no proper basis for a "divorce" case existed since the Twiggs had no previous custody of Kimberly.
Kimberly filed papers in the Florida circuit court to sever whatever legal ties to her biological parents that Florida law might recognize. The documents were highly critical of the Twiggs in a personal nature. Among the allegations, Kimberly charged that Regina Twigg "had emotional and psychological problems" for which she had failed to seek counseling. She also claimed the Twiggs "neglected and abused" their other children by letting them go unwashed, underfed, and leaving them with strangers. She also claimed the Twiggs were trying to undermine Kimberly's relationship with Robert Mays.