Callie Johnson Rebecca Chittum

by umer | 12:13 AM in |

Callie Johnson Rebecca Chittum--IT IS like a movie of the week. Callie Johnson and Rebecca Chittum were switched at birth 18 years ago and remained with their non-biological families.

It was one of America's highest profile stories. When Paula Johnson's daughter Callie was three years old Ms Johnson's boyfriend asked for a paternity test.

The results were shocking. Not only was he not Callie's father but Ms Johnson was not her mother.

Ms Johnson went to the University of Viriginia Medical Centre in Charlottesville to find out what happened after she gave birth on June 29, 1995.

After some digging they found out that Rebecca Chittum, who Kevin Chittum and Whitney Rogers believed was their daughter, actually belonged to Ms Johnson. Rogers had given birth a day after Ms Johnson in the same hospital.

But in a further twist that almost seems make believe, Chittum and Rogers were killed in a car accident the very day that the university discovered the mistake. They died never knowing about the mix-up.

In 1999, Ms Johnson sued for custody of Rebecca but after three years of family feuding a judge decided based on the report of a child psychologist that it was best that both girls remained with the families that raised them.

Both families tried to meet up regularly but the girls became tired of the long commute.

Ms Johnson sued the Univerisity of Virginia Medical Centre for $US31 million but settled for $US1.25 million.

She says the medical centre to this day hasn't apologised for the switch.

"I’m angry because I don’t have a relationship with my biological child. I’m angry at the hospital because the only thing I ever asked was them to apologise," Ms Johnson told CBS. "I’m angry that Kevin and Whitney aren’t here to see what a beautiful child she is and how much she’s grown."

Callie Johnson says doesn't fell sad or angry about the mix-up and says she has a strong relationship with Ms Johnson.

"She’s my best friend. She always has been. And I can honestly say that," she said.