British father fears newborn son swapped and sold in El Salvador

A British father has appealed for help to find his baby son after he raised fears his newborn child could have been swapped and sold to human traffickers in El Salvador.

Richard Cushworth, 41, and his Salvadoran wife Mercedes Casanellas claim a doctor at the hospital where she gave birth exchanged their child for another as she slept, according to reports.

The couple left the private hospital with the newborn but made a public appeal three months on, after a DNA test revealed the boy was unlikely to be their biological son.

Mr Cushworth told the BBC: "God has given us this child and somehow, somebody has taken him from us, and we want him back."

Spanish-language website Elsalvador.com said the couple’s doctor, Alejandro Guidos, was arrested but has protested his innocence after being bailed.

The site reported authorities are believed to have found the couple’s child after carrying out DNA testing but the family are yet to be reunited.

Ms Casanellas, 39, told reporters she initially became suspicious when she noticed the features of her newborn differed from those of the boy doctors handed her the day after she gave birth in May.

In particular, she thought the second youngster had darker skin.

She took the child to the couple’s home in Dallas, Texas, but the pair, both missionaries working in El Salvador, returned to the Central American country after family members also expressed doubts.

The pair made a public appeal on local TV, saying they feared their son may have been sold to traffickers.

Ms Casanellas told the Daily Mail: “This is every mother’s nightmare. I didn’t even get to hold my biological son before he was taken from me. As soon as I saw the other boy, I said: ’That’s not my child.’

“I do not know what to do. We are hoping it’s a mistake but every day that looks less likely.”

Mr Cushworth, originally from Bradford, West Yorkshire, told the paper: “Someone took my child and I have no idea where he is, who is taking care of him. Is he in the country? It’s awful.”

Dr Guidos was quoted by Elsalvador.com as saying: “I feel calm, did not have to prove anything. I’m innocent.”

The Gynecological Hospital Centre, in the country’s capital San Salvador, where Ms Casanellas gave birth, launched an internal investigation and promised the situation would be “rectified”.

Francisco Meneses, the couple’s lawyer, added: “We don’t have anything against the people who were involved during the baby’s birth, but we want all these people to put their hands on their hearts because from the doctor who performed the surgery, the paediatrician, anaesthesiologist, and the two nurses who were in the delivery room, it’s very important for them to tell us what happened.”

More in this Section

Grandfather killed in stabbing yards from home after pint in local London pubGrandfather killed in stabbing yards from home after pint in local London pub

At least 5 people dead after helicopter and small plane collide in MajorcaAt least 5 people dead after helicopter and small plane collide in Majorca

Paris marks 75 years since liberation from NazisParis marks 75 years since liberation from Nazis

Brexit deal prospects ‘touch and go’, Boris Johnson claimsBrexit deal prospects ‘touch and go’, Boris Johnson claims


Lifestyle

It hasn’t been the ideal summer for observing the skies, but as we move into September we live in that almost annual hope of an Indian summer, writes Niall Smith.Skymatters: Enjoy the last of the summer stars and check out 'Vega'

Actually the lights were on when I got dressed this morning, says Luke Rix-Standing.11 things you’ll only know if you have no sense of style

Robert Hume unveils the Irishwoman who became the world’s first car accident fatality.Did you know an Irishwoman was the world’s first car accident fatality ... in 1869

Meet Lisa O’Doherty, the chief sommelier at The K Club.You've Been Served: Lisa O'Doherty of The K Club on life as a chief sommelier

More From The Irish Examiner