BUCKHANNON — A tale normally reserved for movies recently became the reality of two men who discovered they had been switched at birth in Buckhannon, WV. After over 51 years of searching for his father, Jack (Jackie) Spencer learned he was not actually related to the Spencer family at all.
As a result, Jackie Spencer and John William Carr, III are currently suing the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston after discovering they were switched at birth on August 29, 1942 at St. Joseph’s Hospital, which was previously operated under the Pallottine Foundation. The civil complaint was filed on June 5, 2020 by Charles J. Crooks, Esq., of Morgantown’s Crooks Law Firm PLLC.
Spencer had reportedly been told by his family from a young age that his presumed father, Shirley Lee Spencer, abandoned the family before he was born. After several years of searching for Shirley, Spencer’s wife bought him a 23andMe kit. Aside from 23andMe, Spencer reportedly tried multiple other DNA test kits, which all showed the same results – no relation to Shirley Spencer. However, Spencer’s results did reveal a 100% match with a Betty May Carr, indicating that Spencer and Carr were full siblings.
After communicating back and forth with one of the people listed from the results, they soon discovered that it was probable that Jackie Spencer and John Carr, III were actually switched at St. Joseph’s Hospital on the day of their births. Records from the Courthouse in Buckhannon, WV indicated that Jackie Lee Spencer and John William Carr, III were both born at St. Joseph’s Hospital on August 29, 1942. After Mrs. Spencer contacted John Carr, he decided to buy a 23andMe kit also. Once Carr received his results on August 8, 2019, he called the Spencers right away to let them know he and Jackie had indeed been sent home with the wrong families. All of the cousins that Spencer had anticipated showing up on his results, showed up on Carr’s.
According to the complaint, although Spencer and Carr were grateful to finally know the truth, they share feelings of devastation to learn that more than 77 years of their lives were dramatically altered from what should have been. Since discovering the news, Carr has reportedly suffered physical and mental stress. According to the complaint, “The Plaintiffs have all suffered a lifetime of consequences from the negligence that sent Jack and John home with the wrong parents.” The Plaintiffs, Jackie Spencer and John Carr, III, as well as their wives, are seeking monetary compensation in an amount that may help rectify the general and special damages they have suffered for the last 77 years, as well as injuries they will continue to suffer the rest of their lives.