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FBI: Test shows Mich. man not missing NY boy

DNA testing confirmed that a 54-year-old Michigan man is not a toddler kidnapped in Long Island, N.Y., in 1955, the FBI said Thursday.
/ Source: TODAY staff and wire

DNA testing confirmed that a 54-year-old Michigan man is not a toddler kidnapped in Long Island, N.Y., in 1955, the FBI said Thursday.

The FBI said testing showed John Barnes of Kalkaska, Mich., is not Stephen Damman, who disappeared at age 2 from outside an East Meadow bakery while his mother shopped.

"DNA samples analyzed by the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, show John Barnes and Pamela Damman Horne do not share the same mother," the FBI said in a statement, referring to the sister of Stephen Damman.

Barnes has said he has long suspected the couple who raised him are not his biological parents, and the FBI took his DNA sample. He said he began investigating his origins years ago and found photos on the Internet that led him to believe he could be Stephen.

On Thursday, Barnes told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira how confident he was that the DNA tests would prove he was indeed Stephen Damman. He also told Vieira that even when he was growing up, he didn’t feel as if he was the biological son of the family that raised him. He had a brother and a sister, but he never felt related to them.

“I didn’t fit in with my family, I didn’t look like them. They were all dark-complected, brown eyes, dark hair, shorter than I was. They had different personalities. I’ve always known that, and that’s what got me started a long time ago,” he said, speaking very deliberately.

Barnes said pictures of the missing boy's mother when she was a young adult resembled what he looked like at the same age.

In Iowa, Stephen's father, Jerry Damman, called the news about the DNA test results disappointing.

"It's too bad we had to go through all of this for actually nothing in the end," he told The Associated Press.

Barnes said he was born the same year the boy disappeared, but that he only saw his birth certificate once.

Barnes' father, Richard Barnes, has called the speculation "a bunch of foolishness." He said John Barnes was born in a Navy hospital in Pensacola, Fla., on Aug. 18, 1955.

Police in Nassau County, N.Y., said a Michigan man contacted their office in the past few months saying he believed he was the missing toddler. Barnes said the FBI took the DNA swab in March.

Damman said it's frustrating not knowing what happened to his son, even after all these years.

"I guess we don't know any more than we did," he said. "It's been very hard to bring this all up after all those years. It's been hard."

This story contains information from contributor Mike Celizic and The Associated Press.