EXCLUSIVE: It was 2018 when retired detective Wendi Babst bought herself an ancestry testing kit to learn more about her roots – but the results stunned her.
The 54-year-old Oregon resident discovered she had several half-siblings she had never heard of. And the man who raised her was not her biological father. Instead, it was Dr. Quincy Fortier, a renowned fertility specialist who secretly imbued his mother Cathy Holm.
“It was surreal,” Babst told Fox News of the DNA results. “Growing up, I felt different. I was never one of those people who thought I was adopted or anything like that. But I felt different in that I had different interests than some of my family members growing up. I initially thought it was just me being a teenager and we all go through similar stages.
“Did I believe him?” Absolutely, ”she shared. “Even though I had no idea, I got red flags.”
ZACH WITMAN’S PARENTS SPEAK IN NEW MURDER DOCUMENT
For four decades, the Las Vegas doctor has used his own semen to impregnate dozens of women without their consent. He’s now the subject of a new HBO documentary titled “Baby God,” which explores scandals.
The film features interviews with members of Fortier’s family, as well as colleagues, unwittingly impregnated Fortier patients, as well as some of the children who have just discovered their father’s true identity.
Fortier died in 2006 at the age of 94.
Director Hannah Olson previously worked on the PBS series “Finding Your Roots” where celebrities learned about their ancestral history. In some episodes, the subjects even learned of their shocking relationships with famous and infamous people. Olson told Fox News the show inspired her to investigate the dark side of DNA technology.
TRUE CRIME DOC ON LYON SISTERS ABDUCTION, MURDER REVEALS WHY THE CASE IS COLD FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS: “WE PERSIST”
“I’ve seen during my years on the show how new DNA technology has really changed the way we view our families,” she explained. “I was really curious about the new DNA technology and how it disrupted this kind of age-old practice of genealogy and revealed things and crimes that were previously unknown… I was really curious how the new technology available could help us uncover past crimes. ”
As for Babst, she admitted she was worried about how the discovery would affect her elderly mother. However, she said the two are now closer than ever.
“I felt very protective of her from the start of the discovery,” she explained. “I just imagined my mother as this 22 year old girl trying to get pregnant. She was so young and was starting her life. It made this person so real to me.
“She told me over and over again that she couldn’t hate the doctor,” Babst continued. “She’s not happy with what happened. She did not consent to it. She thought she would have a child with her husband. But she’s happy to have me. She loves me and she supports me a lot. It is a positive thing that flows from it. ”
The former mistress of King Juan Carlos was initially “afraid of the reprisals she would face” for having spoken: DOC
The loving soldier she called father never heard of this heartbreaking news. Babst said he died before he learned of Fortier’s identity.
But the family tree continues to grow. According to Babst, she has at least 23 half-siblings across the country and their ages range from 30 to 70. Olson said more siblings have emerged since filming ended.
“A new brother appeared about two weeks ago,” Babst said. “I decided right away to schedule a Zoom meeting with her and say, ‘I want to give you some information. I know how I felt at the beginning. So I’m here for you if you have any questions. There is also a Facebook group and we email each other, brothers and sisters. I think we not only share genetics, but we share common experience. So for all of us, I think it’s something that unites us, even though we vary in age.
Babst pointed out that some half-siblings have chosen not to be in the group since the discovery to possibly avoid disrupting their current relationship with loved ones.
DOCUMENTARY: MINNESOTA MAN KILLED BY SIBLINGS FEELS THREATENED BEFORE GRISLY END
During his lifetime, Fortier was celebrated for his ability to help women conceive. Some specialists in the 1950s and 1960s practiced “sperm mixing,” in which they combined their semen with samples from a woman’s husband to help create a healthy baby, the New York Post noted.
“In the 50s, 60s and even 70s, there were so many family secrets – secret adoptions, secret affairs and children who will never know their father’s true identity,” said Olson. “It’s because of the social morality in place… Wendi discovered it by accident. No one knew there was something to watch out for. Wendi wasn’t investigating anything. She took a DNA test and had no reason to wonder.
Fortier’s intentions are still unclear, and Olson said his research has never shown remorse. There is also a big possibility that more half-siblings are out there and don’t realize the secret their DNA carries.
“I struggle because [Fortier] is my biological father, ”Babst admitted. “I want to find the right things he’s done. I cannot ignore the bad things he is accused of and the allegations that were made in the film. But I think everyone wants to love their parent.
CALIFORNIA MURDER-FOR-HIRE PLOT LED BY RUTHLESS DEBT COLLECTOR EXPLORED IN NEW DOC: ‘IL ÉTAIT JOLI MAL’
“I guess I’ll never have a romantic relationship with someone I’ve never known, but I want to find something good and positive in them. He was a complicated and complex man. I wish I had the opportunity to talk to him and ask him why he did it.
Babst knows that with readily available DNA test kits, many people will be curious to learn more about their family history for fun. However, she cautions those who are curious to prepare for the results – whatever they are.
“Even if you have to check a box or sign something that says something like ‘I understand you might reveal information that might be upsetting,’ how many of us are really reading this? ” she says. “We just scroll quickly and accept. I think people need to take a step back and really understand that there are things you might discover that might hurt you or your family members. Be sure you want to open up to it.
“I wanted to learn my family history,” Babst said. “I’m not saying these things shouldn’t be discovered or researched, but go ahead with your eyes wide open.”
NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON’S PAL REMEMBERS HEARING HEART-BREAKING DIARY ENTRIES IN DOC: “WE WERE IN TEARS”
“Baby God” will air Wednesday, December 2 at 9 p.m. EST on HBO.