Custody Petition Filed in Switched Babies Case

Filed at 7:00 a.m. EDT July 31, 1998

Filed at 5:26 a.m. EST

By The Associated Press
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- The maternal grandparents of a 3-year-old girl who was switched at birth are seeking sole custody in a bid to deny visitation to the child's biological mother, relatives say.

The custody petition filed in juvenile court involves Rebecca Grace Chittum, who was taken home from the University of Virginia Medical Center and raised by Kevin Chittum and Whitney Rogers.

Two of Chittum's sisters, Roxane Cullen and Pamela Miskovsky, said Wednesday that the petition was filed this week by Tommy and Linda Rogers, the divorced parents of Ms. Rogers who now help raise Rebecca.

Photos from the Virginia Switched Babies Case

Tests have determined that Rebecca is actually the biological daughter of Paula Johnson, who gave birth about the same time as Ms. Rogers. Ms. Johnson returned from the hospital with Callie Conley and raised the infant as her child.

DNA testing has revealed that Callie's biological parents are Rogers and Chittum. The couple died in a July 4 car wreck shortly before their families learned of the switch in June 1995.

The switch was discovered in blood tests ordered for a child-support case brought by Ms. Johnson. Since then, the families involved have met, and the two girls have played together.

Both families have said they want Callie and Rebecca to stay with the families who raised them, and each suggested liberal visitation rights for both sides.

But Ms. Cullen said in today's Daily Progress that she believes the Rogerses want sole custody "to block any visitation with Paula Johnson." She said the relationship among the families has deteriorated.

Other family members could not be reached for comment by the paper.

Police and state health investigators are investigating how the baby switch happened. The hospital has since added new security measures.

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