It also solved a heartbreaking, decades-long kidnapping mystery.
It all started out innocently enough. In 2017, Audrey Bell, a 51-year-old mother of triplets from Long Island, hopped on the internet to purchase a 23andMe testing kit to help her figure out which of her triplets were the identical siblings and which was the fraternal sibling. But when she received the results weeks later, they revealed something curious.
The testing was able to correctly identify which of her triplets was the fraternal sibling, but while their heritage was categorized as Southern European, the ancestry composition didn’t mention anything specifically about Italy. That struck Bell as odd, since her father, Richard Palmadesso, had always been so proud of his Italian ancestry. She mentioned the results to her twin, Cynthia McFadden, her younger sister, Stephanie Palmadesso, and her parents, who were also confused about the lack of Italian ancestry. (Cynthia and Audrey are twin sisters who go by their married last names.) Still, no one thought much of it at the time.
Then, at the end of 2019, Cynthia also decided to take a 23andMe test. Similarly, she was surprised to see that she had no Italian heritage. The sisters didn’t know what to make of their results, and grew more suspect this time around. Their father had passed away in 2017, so by this point, they couldn’t ask him any questions or have him take his own DNA test.
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