Kimberly takes a determined stand

August 06, 1993|By Orlando Sentinel

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A nervous Kimberly Mays, tugging on the collar of her neat flowered dress, took the stand and plainly told her biological parents what she wanted.

"I want their parental rights terminated," the 14-year-old testified yesterday in a soft but angry voice. "I want them out of my life. I want my life back."

Ernest and Regina Twigg, the parents Kimberly didn't know existed until five years ago, gazed blankly ahead, tightly gripping hands and showing no emotion.

Bob Mays, 49, the Englewood, Fla., roofing salesman Kimberly considers her real father, sat perched at the edge of his chair, craning his neck sideways as if to gauge the Twiggs' reaction.

And Kimberly?

For a little more than an hour, she finally told her story in a Sarasota courtroom, softly asserting her demands and sometimes breaking into tears as she recounted her tormented emotions.

Switched at birth in a mysterious episode at a Wauchula, Fla., hospital, Kimberly is fighting to break her ties with the parents who conceived her and preserve her life with the man who raised her.

The Twiggs want to arrange visits with Kimberly, and at times, they have also pressed for custody, though they're not seeking that now.

Asked Kimberly's attorney, George Russ: Are you sure you want be left out of an inheritance from the Twiggs, made millionaires by a settlement with the hospital?

Replied Kimberly: "Money can't buy love."

"She's intruded into my life," Kimberly said later of Regina Twigg. "She's a stranger and I don't like her."

At one point, Kimberly broke into tears while recounting how Bob Mays first took her aside, on their porch, and told her another family claimed she was their child.

"I said, 'Daddy, don't let them take me away,' " Kimberly said, beginning to cry, "and it still brings tears to my eyes."

As Kimberly softly sobbed, a bailiff fetched tissues. "Sorry," she said as she regained her composure.

The case, though scheduled to end today, is now expected to spill over into next week. After the case ends, Circuit Judge Stephen Dakan will have 60 days to rule, and is expected to take at least a few weeks.

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