Two Minnesota women in their 70s learn they were switched at birth

Denice Juneski was surprised when she recently took a DNA test and did not match any of her family members.

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The Eagan, Minnesota, resident took a retest and got the same result.

“Either 23andMe made a mistake, or I was switched at birth,” Juneski told KARE.

Juneski was right. The 72-year-old grandmother was switched at birth.

“It’s a crazy thing,” Juneski said. “People just automatically assume they got the right family.”

So, who was Juneski switched with?

The mystery began to unravel 40 miles away in Hammond, Wisconsin, when Linda Jourdeans’ daughter noticed Juneski on her DNA test result, KARE reported.

When Jourdeans found out, she took her own DNA test. Her results matched Juneski’s family.

“I did my DNA right away, because I've got to see this on paper,” Jourdeans told KARE.

The two women, who met in April, discovered that two girls were born on Dec. 19, 1945, in St. Paul, Minnesota, KARE reported: Denice Mary Mayer at 2:17 a.m. and Linda Jean Nielsen 31 minutes later.

What remains a mystery was how they were switched.

“We'll never know,” Jourdeans told KARE. “And I'm sure the nurses are dead that probably took care of us.”
Family photos of both women when they were young offered more evidence, KARE reported. Jourdeans, a redhead, was among a family of blondes. Juneski, who was blonde, lived among redheads and brunettes.

“Sometimes I had that sense that I didn't quite fit in,” Juneski told KARE. “I was really supposed to be another person.”

Juneski’s mother, Marianne Mayer, is 99. She now gets visits from the daughter she raised, Juneski, and the daughter she gave birth to, Jourdeans.

“Now you have more grandchildren -- red-haired ones,” Juneski told KARE.

Rochelle Nielsen, the other mother in that Minnesota hospital in 1945, died of cancer when Jourdeans was 17.

Now, at age 72, Jourdeans has found her birth mother.

“Unbelievable,” Jourdeans told KARE.

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