Thomas Lippert died in 1999 but he is still making headlines 15 years after. For the wrong reasons. Lippert was a convicted criminal charged with kidnapping a college girl in 1975 and subjecting her to electric shock in an attempt to make her fall in love with him. The felon also worked before as an employee of a reproductive clinic in Midvale, Utah. Fast forward to present time, a 21-year-old woman found out that the father he knew all her life is not her biological father. Her father is Lippert and this might be the case for hundreds of other Utahns as well. How the story unfolded fits science fiction books or the silver screen.
The young woman found out the shocking truth after she and her parents decided to take an online $100-DNA test through 23andMe, a testing company based in California. It was all for fun for the family, who wants to remain anonymous for now, but their jaws dropped in shock after the laboratory revealed that there was no DNA match between the daughter and her father.
An independent genealogist CeCe Moore, who first broke the story, hid the identity of Lippert's biological daughter under the name "Ashley," born to parents "Paula" and "Jeff."
"Paula explained to me that just over twenty years ago; she and her husband were having difficulty conceiving. Their OB/GYN referred them to a fertility clinic associated with the University of Utah in Salt Lake City... Paula underwent artificial insemination with her husband's sperm several times unsuccessfully and they were thrilled when she conceived on what they had decided would be their last try in mid-August of 1991. They have been blessed with their wonderful daughter, Ashley...," she wrote on her blog.
The clinic the family was referring to is Reproductive Medical Technologies Inc. that closed in February 1998. All records of the company are gone.
WIth the genealogy they have, the family was able to trace a cousin of Lippert who revealed that Thomas worked part time for RMTI. With the potential biological father of Ashley out of the picture, the family was able to confirm her parentage through a test using the specimen from Lippert's 99-year-old mother.
Paula and Jeff cannot think of any reason how this happened but Lippert might have switched his sperm to that of Jeff's while working for RMTI.
"I just thought, 'oh my gosh,' this was not an accident, this was intentional. All those photos of the babies that he was so proud of I thought, 'oh my god how many of those are his biological children," Paula said in an interview with KUTV.
With one positive case of sperm specimen ending up with an unsuspecting recipient, many people of Utah might be wondering who among the people they know could be their half sisters or brothers or who among these people end up dating each other.
The University of Utah who was associated with RMTI, issued an update about the said case.
"Since April 2013, the University of Utah has been investigating credible information regarding the possible mislabeling or tampering of a semen sample," the university's statement read. "We understand this information has been upsetting for the family and other clients of RMTI. We want to help alleviate this distress by providing free paternity testing for RMTI clients who received AI between 1988 -1993. Because of its association with and proximity to RMTI, the University will also offer free testing to patients who received AI treatments during that time period through the University's adjacent laboratory."
While Ashley cannot do anything about her biology, her mom said that no one can be better than their daughter.