Man Denies Baby Born with Rare Disease (Full Episode) | Paternity Court
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Man Denies Baby Born with Rare Disease (Full Episode) | Paternity Court

You may be seated. Hello, Your Honor. Hello. This is a case
ofWhittier v. Reed.Thank you, Jerome.
Good day, everyone. AUDIENCE: Good day. Ms. Whittier,
you say that you are sure Mr. Reed is the father of your 22-month-old
son, Lukas. But the defendant’s
paternity doubts have led to constant fighting
and tension in your relationship. You desperately hope to prove
he is the father to save your family. Is that correct? Yes, Your Honor. Mr. Reed, you believe
it is medically impossible that you are Lukas’ father. You say you bonded
with him at birth and have taken care of him
and loved him. But every time
you look at Lukas,you are haunted by the doubtsthat you are not
his biological father,
is that correct? Yes, Your Honor. All right, Ms. Whittier, if Mr. Reed
didn’t have this doubt, where do you think the two
of you would be right now? I think we would be married,
moving on with our lives, getting away from the conflict that constantly
drags our family down. Really, and that conflict
is all based upon
a paternity issue. WHITTIER: Yes, ma’am. Shortly before Lukas’ birth,
we had an argument.And that argument led tothe ultimate gonna-shut-him-up
kind of moment. So, I said, “Well, how do you
know if it’s even yours?” You say that
in the argument? Yes. I never doubted
it was his, but I just kind of
wanted to end the argument and let it be done. And I’ve regretted
that statement
ever since I made it. JUDGE LAKE:
So, talk to me
about the nature of this relationship. How did
your relationship begin? WHITTIER: He, um… Tried to save my toddler
that he thought was drowning. He didn’t realize
she could swim. JUDGE LAKE: Oh, that’s cute. Good reflexes, Mr. Reed. It was a baby
and she was adorable. Cute little stubby thing
running around the pool in her little swimmer diaper. (WHITTIER CHUCKLES) Jumps in the pool. So, I’m lying
in a lawn chair, you know, getting my tan on. I’m laying in
the lawn chair, and here she goes. I look up,
she jumps in the pool and I’m right behind her I come up looking for her
and she’s swimming around. JUDGE LAKE:
(LAUGHS) That’s so cute. She’s adorable.
I love that child also. JUDGE LAKE:
And so, after that, you obviously
introduced yourself to your real-life superhero. Yes, we had dinner
later that night, and didn’t see each other
for about a week, and finally, I decided,
“Well, give him a call.” You know,
he was there for a reason and I couldn’t get him
off my mind, so I called. And we spent
quite a bit of time together for the next month. And then he left.
He moved back to Tennessee. And it broke my heart and it broke
my daughter’s heart. It was instantaneous and I just didn’t
realize it at the time. WHITTIER:
And he was gone for…about six weeks.JUDGE LAKE:Okay.WHITTIER:And then at about
3:00 one morning,
I don’t know if you wanna
call it a dream or a feeling, JUDGE LAKE: Mm-hmm. but I got up, and as I started
down the hall, the family member
that was staying with me kind of met me
in the hallway and she said.
“It’s time to go get Jo.” And I’m like… “I feel the same way,
but what do I do?” And so I check Facebook and there’s
a message from him. Really? “Come get me. “It’s time to come home.” JUDGE LAKE: Oh. AUDIENCE: Aww. I feel like
I’m in, like, a really cute romantic comedy
right now, right? This is awesome. I don’t want it to turn bad. (LAUGHS) And so you went to get him? We did. I was there
before the sun came up. JUDGE LAKE: So, you packed up
and jumped in the car… We jumped in the car
and I headed to Georgia. And you headed to Georgia? BOTH: Mm-hmm. And, so, you all
made a home there. REED AND WHITTIER: We did. And everything was going great
in this relationship? He moved in in mid-September and we found out
we were pregnant
the first week of November. REED: I was terrified. You were? I mean,
outright terrified. I didn’t know
what I was gonna do. I mean,
name me one parent that does know
what they’re doing, you know, first time. That’s what my mom said. Did you have any doubt
during that time that child was yours? No. No, no. Not at the time of
the pregnancy, I didn’t, no. Okay, when did
the plot twist come? (BOTH SNICKER) With his ex-girlfriend. JUDGE LAKE: Okay. (AUDIENCE GROANS) The conflict started
between me and her. Well, then she starts
whispering in his ear, “Oh, well,
what if it’s not yours?” There was some arguments. JUDGE LAKE:
There were some arguments?
REED:Yeah.WHITTIER:Yes.And an ex of minedecided to be disgusting and sent a very vulgar
message to my phone. He found it
and thought that maybe there was some continuing
relationship there. JUDGE LAKE: Okay. And then I moved in
with my ex. JUDGE LAKE: Oh, and then
you moved in with your ex during the pregnancy? Yes, Your Honor, I did. JUDGE LAKE: Oh, my…
They keep trying to skip over
the part I’m asking about. Now I know why.
‘Cause this is
where it got messy. So, wait a minute. So, you’re pregnant now, your ex sends you a picture?
A text? It’s a video. A video? WHITTIER: Yeah. REED: Yeah, I couldn’t…
Oh, man. JUDGE LAKE: What was
in the video, Mr. Reed? He was having sex
with somebody. Outright, it
showed everything. WHITTIER: It did. Your ex sent a video of him
having sex with somebody else? I think he was trying
to make me jealous and make me come back to him. I don’t think… (AUDIENCE LAUGHS) WHITTIER: I don’t think
it was gonna work. REED: That was
a pretty horrible concept. I mean, I don’t know
what he was thinking. JUDGE LAKE: And, so, wait,
you see this video… Yes, I did. JUDGE LAKE:
And then what do you think? Why are you
still having contact? What goes through your head? Well, I told her, I was like,
“Why are you…” “You know, I don’t mind
if you talk to him, “but if he’s gonna
send you videos like this… No, I told her,
“No, that’s not okay.” JUDGE LAKE: Okay, that’s fair. I mean… Did you believe it was the ex
and Ms. Whittier in the video? WHITTIER: I think
that’s what he thought, and I tried… I didn’t think it was. I didn’t see no faces
or nothing. JUDGE LAKE: Oh. WHITTIER: I tried and tried
to tell him that’s not me. I believe that
it’s a possibility
that it could’ve been her. I mean… JUDGE LAKE: And your point was is why are you
sending this video unless it’s you and her. Yeah, why would he do it? JUDGE LAKE: All right. JUDGE LAKE: So, after
you saw this video, you left? He moves in with his ex who proceeds to attempt
to convince him that that child
couldn’t possibly be his. And, of course, because
he’s known her longer, he buys into the story and it just got worse
from there, until I got sick. I had a… A blood clot. And they put me
in the hospital, put me on blood thinners. And they said
the blood thinners carry
a massive risk of… Neither one of you
making it through. And I called him, I said,
“You need to come home.” I’ve never been
so scared in my life. And I told him
that I didn’t know if Lukas
was gonna make it. I didn’t know
if I was gonna make it. JUDGE LAKE:And, so,
when you got that call,
Mr. Reed,
what did you do?All I could do
not to cry, too, but I knew, as a man,
that I needed to be strong and I needed to be her rock. He came home, we spent… Yeah. …the next month
in the hospital. They finally
sent us home and said
as long as nothing else goes wrong from here
to the end, maybe we’ll have
a healthy baby. JUDGE LAKE: So, once you heard of this very-scary
medical situation, you went and stood
by her and the baby,
even with your doubts. Yes, I did. WHITTIER:
He was there for a lot of it.
But then,
the same ex came back. “Well…” You know…
“Look at your family. “Your family doesn’t have
these health problems, “they don’t have
these medical problems, “and these are, you know,
only inherited things.” Well, that’s not
entirely true, you know. JUDGE LAKE:
So, Mr. Reed, you were there on the day Lukas was born as well? Oh, yes. Oh, you were? I cut the umbilical cord, Your Honor. JUDGE LAKE: You did? I held one leg
and folded her up, my mum had the other one
and she pushed and the baby came out. And I instantly cried,
as soon as… He cried more than I did. I lost it
and I held him in my arms.That is my world right there.
That’s my boy.
I’d do anything for him.I need to know just so
we can move on from this, and we can grow from this, and we can
get stronger from this. Because I want it out
of my household.
It’s a bad element. Are you on
Lukas’ birth certificate? REED: No, ma’am. WHITTIER: He’s not. REED:That lady
came in there and said,
“We cannot put your name
on the birth certificate
“since she is
still technically married,” and she is. JUDGE LAKE: Oh! REED: Yeah. JUDGE LAKE:
We left that fact out. JUDGE LAKE:
So, Mr. Reed was not able to put his name
on the birth certificate because, by law, your husband is presumed to be
the father of the child… Yes, Your Honor. REED: A man I have
never laid eyes on. So they put your husband’s
name on Lukas’… WHITTIER: They put “Unknown,”because I wouldn’t
give them my husband’s name.
I left my husbandand haven’t
been in contact with him.
JUDGE LAKE: But you’re
not legally divorced? No. JUDGE LAKE: So, Mr. Reed, at what point after the birth
do the doubts really kick in? WHITTIER: When Lukas
started getting really sick. When he was two-weeks-old, he had his first
grand mal seizure. Sometime during that
three-week hospitalization, Jo’s like,
“How does this happen? “You know, nobody in my family
has seizures. “Nobody in my family
has any of the feeding issues, “or the heart issues, “or the brain issues
that Lukas does.” And I tried telling him,
you know,sometimes it can be
so far back in your family,
you don’t know it’s there.So, Lucas was diagnosed
with albinism. Yes. On its surface, when they
first told me, I laughed because I didn’t realize
how serious it was. We all hear the word “albino.” Nobody actually thinks about
what it means. And suddenly you realize it doesn’t just mean
that he’s pale and blonde and blue-eyed. It means that his skin… can’t take sunlight. The only huge doubt
I have is the albinism. That was a physical proof. That’s what’s… It means that…
Bleeding on his brain, his body’s just not equipped
to handle anything. He… He can’t go outside. He can’t take bright lights. REED: No. REED:No flickering lights.WHITTIER:They’re saying
his eye movements
are partially from
a bleed on his brain. JUDGE LAKE: Okay. And we don’t know
if that bleed is because
of the blood thinners, or is it part of his albinism? The albinism
is still giving me doubts I mean… WHITTIER:
But he keeps wondering, you know, “If he’s this sick, “and if he’s got
all these problems “how can he be mine?
My family’s healthy.” JUDGE LAKE:
So, Mr. Reed, you submitted
a graph to the court, and you’re saying
on your side of the familyyour grandmother,
grandfather, on both sides,
maternal and paternal,
your mother and father…
Yeah, nobody has albinism. I’ve never heard of anybody… JUDGE LAKE: No one? Nobody. JUDGE LAKE:And then,
Ms. Whittier,
on your side of the family…
WHITTIER: There’s no one
with an actual diagnosis, but there are several people
who show similar symptoms. Do any of your exes
have this albinism gene? WHITTIER:
Medically, I have no idea. Um, potentially, yes. The one that he’s had issues
wondering about is actually blonde
and blue-eyed, too. (AUDIENCE GROANS) So, listen,
I’ve heard the testimony, and this court wants to
understand albinism better. Jerome, will you please escort
Ms. Rae Lowery into the courtroom? Ms. Lowery is the president
and co-founder of The Albinism
Alliance Group. I’m gonna have you
go up to the witness stand
right next to the Judge. Watch your step going
up the steps, there. JUDGE LAKE: Ms. Lowery,
thank you so much for
joining us today. Thank you for having me. We are here today
discussing the paternity of beautiful baby Lukas, and this court
wants to understand,is albinism
passed genetically?
Albinism is
passed genetically from the parents to the child. But depending on
which gene is affected depends on
whether both parents of one parent passes it. Oh. LOWERY: Normally,
the albinism trait
is recessive. And when it meets
a copy of itself, meaning both parents
having the albinism, the same gene affected,
then it becomes dominant. JUDGE LAKE:
Can you have albinism
and not know it at all? Yes, everybody can carry
the albinism trait, but usually, you only find out
when the baby gets it. You can have two persons
that have albinism and their children
do not have albinism. Really? You have two people
who do not have albinism and all of their children
have albinism. Because it’s all about
the gene combination. Exactly. JUDGE LAKE:
So, with that said, Mr. Reed, after you’ve heard
the testimony from our expert… Yeah. Does that change your doubt, or affect your belief
in any way? It does,
I’m not gonna lie to you,
it doesn’t help the doubt. We’re in court,
I’m not gonna lie. It doesn’t help the doubt. JUDGE LAKE: And that’s what
I want, you to be as honest. Of course. I’m always. So, you still feel doubtful,
even with the information, you still have doubt. Saying it comes
from both parents, I mean, to me, I don’t know
about anybody else, but, to me, that’s
absolutely mind blowing. I mean, I just don’t know
what to think. Because you really want Lukas
to be your son. REED: But the thought
that he’s not mine, it would destroy me. If you were to read
the DNA test results and you tell me that,
“He’s not the father,”you’re gonna watch me cry.AUDIENCE:Aww.JUDGE LAKE:
Why do you have tears
in your eyes, Ms. Whittier?
‘Cause it takes a lot for a person
to love a child that way. To know he loves that kid
the way I do, no matter what. Let’s get the results.
Jerome. (WHISPERING INAUDIBLY) These results were prepared
by DNA Diagnostics and
they read as follows… JUDGE LAKE: In the case
ofWhittier v. Reed,when it comes to 22-month-old Lukas Whittier, it has been determined
by this Court, Mr. Reed, you… Are the father. I can see
how relieved you are. REED: I’m just shaking. I’m shaking. Man, this is
the happiest day of my life. Aside from him being born, this is the happiest day
of my life. I will be a father to him,
if it kills me. Until it does,
until I finally get old, and wear out, and then I’m griping to him
about the TV remote
or something, you know, ’cause he’s
wheeling me around in my wheelchair or something. JUDGE LAKE: Well, listen,
I said to myself you’ve got this amazing,
young man and beautiful young woman and they’ve got this child
who needs both parents, who needs the love
and the support of two people.
Love him unconditionally. I just wanted to be able
to deliver that result to you, and I did not know
what it was, but I am so very happy
for you both. REED: Thank you so much. Thank you. JUDGE LAKE: I want you all
to move forward, I want you all to leave
the past in the past. We have counseling
and resources for you, because this is what’s
going to best serve Lukas, in the long run, is for you all
to stay together, for your family unit
to be together, and for him to have
the love and support
along his journey. So, I wish you all
the very, very best. Court is adjourned. REED: Thank you so much.


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