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After 72 Years, Two Women Discover They Were Swapped At Birth

KARE 11

At 72 years old, most people would be enjoying retirement and spending quality time with their families - not finding out they've been switched at birth.

But that's exactly what happened to Denice Juneski and Linda Jourdeans after the former decided to submit their DNA to 23andMe.

While Juneski wanted to know more about her family history, she was left stunned when her results came back. She had not matched with a single member of her family.

"It’s a crazy thing," Juneski said. "People just automatically assume they got the right family."

Denice Juneski as a baby
A picture of Denice Juneski as a babyDenice Juneski

Believing it was an error, the grandmother decided to take the test again, only to get the same results.

"Either 23andMe made a mistake,” Juneski concluded, "or I was switched at birth."

Jourdeans' family first caught onto the mistake when her niece noticed an unknown relative on her own DNA report.

When her daughter caught wind of the situation, she had to break the news to her incredulous mother.

"I did my DNA right away, because I've got to see this on paper," Jourdean said.

Linda Jourdeans holding up a picture of her family
Linda Jourdeans holding up a picture of her familyBoyd Huppert/KARE 11

Although it was shocking news to take in, Jourdeans said she and Juneski will most likely never find out how the grave mistake happened.

"We'll never know," Linda said, "and I'm sure the nurses are dead that probably took care of us."

The two women were born on December 19, 1945, at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, Minnisota, only 31 minutes apart, and while both women never suspected a thing, there were visual clues that made them stand out from the rest of their family.

Linda Jourdeans, bottom right, was the only redhead in her family
Linda Jourdeans, bottom right, was the only redhead in her familyLinda Jourdeans

Along with being the only blond in a family full of brunettes and redheads, Juneski wasn't nearly as sporty as the other members in her family.

"Sometimes I had that sense that I didn't quite fit in," Juneski admitted, adding that she significantly lacked both stamina and coordination.

However, Jourdeans said she fit in with her family quite well, despite being the only one who had any athletic ability.

The only member of Jourdeans' family who wasn't surprised with the switch was her daughter, Michelle, who often told her mother, "You don’t look like the rest."

Linda Jourdeans shows off a photo of Rochelle Nielsen, the woman she believed was her mother
Linda Jourdeans shows off a photo of Rochelle Nielsen, the woman she believed was her motherBoyd Huppert/KARE 11

Despite the initial shock, both women are embracing their new heritage. Since meeting in April, Juneski and Jourdeans have spent a significant amount of time with each other, and plan on having a family reunion with both of their families.

One person who's currently getting used to the news of the swap is Marianne Mayer, 99. As the biological mother of Jourdeans and acting parent of Juneski, she is now enjoying the company of both ladies at her care home.

"Now you have more grandchildren - red haired ones," Juneski laughed.

Denice Juneski and Linda Jourdeans visit Marianne Mayer, Jourdean's biological mother
Denice Juneski and Linda Jourdeans visit Marianne Mayer, Jourdean's biological motherBoyd Huppert/KARE 11

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[H/T: KARE 11]

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Maya has been working at Shared for 10 Months. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at maya@shared.com