72-Year-Old Women Discover They Were Switched at Birth After DNA Test


Throughout each new and exciting stage in our lives, we meet many new and exciting people.

If you’re like me, sometimes you meet someone and there is an instant connection. It’s inexplicable, but it’s special. You feel like you have something in common.

If you’ve ever seen the 1998 version of The Parent Trap, that “something” is as clear as a summer day. When two twin sisters (both played by Lindsay Lohan) meet at their childhood summer camp, they instantly recognize that they have the same face and soon discover that they are long-lost twin sisters.

It’s a weird experience for both girls, but they immediately share a deep, unique bond and become best friends.

For Denice Juneski and Linda Jourdeans, they, too, found a similar bond — minus the identical twin part.

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In fact, the two 72-year-old mid-west women discovered a shocking secret. On December 19, 1945, at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, the two women were born 31 minutes apart in the early morning.

While Jourdeans grew up to be a red-head in a family of blondes, Juneski was a blonde in a family of brunettes and red-heads.

Juneski, living in Eagan, Minnesota, submitted her DNA to the popular ancestry website 23andMe. When she got the results, she was stunned to see that she recognized no one.

In shock at the results, Juneski decided to take the test a second time, which ended up yielding the same results.

40 miles away in Hammond, Wisconsin, Jourdeans was slowly realizing the same thing.

Juneski found herself in a family of athletes, but she herself did not possess athletic talents. Her father played baseball with the St. Paul Saints and around the Twin Cities, her brother played baseball too, and her sister was in the Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame.

“Sometimes I had that sense that I didn’t quite fit in,” Juneski said.

On the other hand, Jourdeans played softball all the way through her mid-50s. She was evidently a part of Juneski’s family, and the women soon understood what was going on. They had been switched at birth.

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When Jourdeans’ niece noticed Juneski on her own DNA report, she let her aunt know her suspicions.

“We believe you’ve been switched at birth,” Linda’s daughter and her husband told Jourdeans.

After Linda submitted her own DNA to prove this news to be true, she soon came to the same conclusion.

The two women got together in April and discussed their family experiences, observing their differences from their family members, as well as their different upbringings.

Meeting regularly since April, the women decided to visit the one person that they both shared in their history — 99-year-old Marianne Mayer. Mayer is the nurturing mother of Juneski and the biological mother of Jourdeans, and she is in memory care. The two women meet with her regularly and explain the situation to her each time, and each time Mayer is understanding and accepting.

“Now you have more grandchildren — red haired ones,” Juneski told Mayer.

Jourdeans’ nurturing mother, on the other hand, died of cancer at age 42. But with her newfound biological mother, she can still enjoy the company of motherly love.

The two women, facing the surreal situation, have begun to meet their real families. They will continue the introductions at a family reunion coming up.

Despite the shocking results, both women consider their circumstances “a gift,” focusing on the positives that have come from it. “We’re just new friends,” Jourdeans said.

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Erin Shortall is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree at Grove City College. She has a passion for homeless ministry in her home city of Philadelphia, PA.
Erin Shortall is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree at Grove City College. She has a major in English, minors in both Writing and Communication Studies, and a Technical Writing concentration. She is currently working on designing and writing a book of poetry to financially support a new homeless ministry of Grove City, PA called Beloved Mercy Ministry. In her spare time, she loves to sing, play piano, exercise, traverse cities, and find the cutest coffee shops. She also has a passion for homeless ministry in her home city of Philadelphia, PA.
Philadelphia, PA
Scholarship of Academic Achievement and Moral Character
Grove City College
Grove City, PA
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
Visual Design, Document Design, Technical Communication, Literature, Computer Ethics