A Utah family got a devastating surprise after delving into its ancestry.
The family, whose members asked not to be identified and go only by Paula, Jeff and Ashley, went on the website 23andMe to test their genealogy. When they received the results, Paula discovered her husband and daughter didn't share any DNA at all.
PAULA: "I felt my stomach just drop. ... I said, 'Are you thinking what I'm thinking?' And he says, 'Of course.'"
REPORTER: "What they were thinking was about how Ashley was conceived." (Via KUTV)
The couple had used a fertility clinic after struggling to conceive.
Through Ancestry.com, the family discovered a biological cousin of Ashley's. That cousin told the family a relative of hers, Thomas Lippert, had worked at the fertility clinic the couple used. (Via KTVX)
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, through a DNA test of Lippert's mother, the family confirmed that Lippert was Ashley's biological father.
Paula believes Lippert switched out his own sperm for her husband's sample. And things got even worse when the family looked into Lippert's past.
"Lippert was accused of kidnapping a college student, keeping her in a box where he performed experiments involving electric shock. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping and served two years in prison." (Via KSTU)
CeCe Moore, a genealogist who helped the family with its search, suspects Lippert might have switched his own sperm with other samples. Lippert died in 1999, and the fertility clinic has since shut down, so there's no way to know for sure.
Moore created a website called “Was Your Child Fathered by Thomas Lippert?” encouraging others to have their children tested. She called the information "essential to avoid half-siblings ... potentially engaging in romantic relationships, as well as for family medical history."
Paula told KUTV her family was incredibly shaken up by the revelation but that it hasn't changed her love for her daughter.