Two Sisters Bought DNA Kits. The Results Blew Apart Their Family.
In an age of ubiquitous direct-to-consumer genetic testing, family secrets are almost impossible to keep.
Feb. 1, 2019 | By Amy Dockser Marcus
Sonny and Brina Hurwitz raised a family in Boston. They both died with secrets.
In 2016, their oldest daughter, Julie Lawson, took a home DNA test. Later, she persuaded her sister, Fredda Hurwitz, to take one too.
In May, the sisters sat down at the dinner table in Ms. Hurwitz’s Falls Church, Va., home to share their results. A man’s name popped up as a close genetic match for Ms. Hurwitz. Neither had ever heard of him.
Ms. Lawson searched for the man on Facebook. When she saw his photos, she knew. He looked like their late father. Based on his age and the close physical resem-blance, Ms. Lawson immediately told her sister, “He’s got to be our brother.” This was their father’s secret. He had a child they never knew about.
Then came a second shock. Ms. Lawson’s test showed she didn’t appear to have any genetic connection to this new man. This was their mother’s secret: Ms. Lawson was the product of a brief extramarital affair. The man who raised her wasn’t her biological father.