Woman Claims She Has DNA Evidence She Is Brittany Renee Williams, But Some Questions Remain

Brittany Renee Williams as seen in missing persons photos. Image credit: Charley Project.

A woman in Indiana has claimed that she has DNA evidence to prove that she is Brittany Renee Williams, a girl who went missing from a foster home in Virginia 21 years ago.

Brittany Renee Williams was seven years old when she disappeared from a foster home run by Kim Parker of Henrico, Virginia. The girl had not shown up for school, nor been taken to court hearings by Parker, when the police became involved. Parker was the main suspect in the case, after it was discovered that she had been committing fraud by taking funds intended for her foster children, and placing it in her own bank account, for which she was eventually jailed for eight years. 

After an extensive search, which included digging up the garden of the home where Williams was living prior to her disappearance, and many intervening years, police believed her to be dead. For her part, Parker claimed that she had sent Williams to live with two women in California, after being unable to look after her. The women denied this.

Without her AIDS medication, police assumed that there was no way Brittany could have survived. However, years later and 500 miles away in Fort Wayne, Indiana, adoptee Kaylynn Stevenson was researching her own family history when she came across a photo of Brittany, just before her disappearance, NBC 12 reports. Stevenson couldn't remember much of her childhood, but at the back of her mind was the name "Williams". A search of the name plus "missing children" brought up the photo, and Stevenson was immediately convinced it was her.

“I woke my wife up out of her sleep and was like, ‘This is me!'" she told NBC 12. "'I know me when I see me. This is me!’”

Several distinguishing characteristics of Williams are also present on Stevenson, including a mole on her neck, and scars on her stomach and chest. Stevenson remembers being in hospital as a child, and scars from catheters were part of the description listed of Williams by police.

Stevenson told NBC 12 that she has since had a private DNA test, which gave her a 95.83% probability of being half-sisters with Anastasia McElroy, another daughter of Brittany's mother. The two were put in contact by NBC 12, and both believe Stevenson to in fact be Williams.

Questions remain, however, with the strangest being: how did Williams survive all these years? Stevenson, who is now going by "Brittany" as her first name, has never been told that she has AIDS, nor that she was HIV positive, something that tests have since confirmed. Whether the initial diagnosis was a mistake, or there is more to the story we don't know yet is unclear. Nevertheless, the mystery has not put doubts in Stevenson's mind.

“Blood does not lie and a DNA test does not lie at all," she told NBC 12. "So, I don’t have AIDS, but I am Brittany Renee Williams.”

The local police and FBI have reopened the case, and have taken DNA samples from both Stevenson and McElroy.

 

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