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Three Germans say DNA test proves they're Lindbergh descendants

Associated Press, Published November 29, 2003

FRANKFURT, Germany -- A DNA test has proven that U.S. aviator Charles Lindbergh fathered the three children of a German hatmaker, a spokesman for the siblings said today.

The children, Dyrk and David Hesshaimer and their sister, Astrid Bouteuil, have no plans to stake a claim as legal heirs, but wanted to verify the relationship before going ahead with plans to publish a book on their mother's long-running secret relationship with the married pilot, said their spokesman, lawyer Anton Schwenk.


Dyrk Hesshaimer, Astrid Bouteuil and David Hesshaimer, from left to right, pose for photographers prior to a press conference in Munich, southern Germany. The Hesshaimer children, born between 1958 and 1967, said they didn't realize Lindbergh was their father until the early 1980s when Bouteuil, the middle child, began asking questions.
A TV documentary on the family also is scheduled for release in Germany next year.

No one was immediately available for comment at the Lindbergh Foundation in Anoka, Minn., which was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. Charles Lindbergh grew up in Little Falls, Minn.

Are they Lindbergh's children?Joerg KochAfpSchwenk said after receiving the results of the test, carried out by the Munich-based LMU Institute, the three Germans informed their half-siblings in the United States, some of whom they met last month. They agreed to make the announcement quietly, ``because that is the style of the American Lindbergh family.''

The German siblings came forward this summer with their claim, offering as evidence a bundle of 112 letters that they said Lindbergh wrote to their mother, Brigitte Hesshaimer. They said then they were not interested in money, but just wanted acknowledgment that Lindbergh was truly their father.

Lindbergh's 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic made him a global celebrity. He married Anne Morrow in 1929, and they had six children. In 1932, their first-born baby son was kidnapped and murdered.

The marriage endured until Lindbergh's death in 1974, but during the last decades of his life he roamed the globe, rarely visiting his Connecticut home.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh died in 2001, as did Brigitte Hesshaimer.
 

Lindbergh descendants meet Germans who claim aviator was their father

Associated Press, Published October 10, 2003

MUNICH, Germany -- Descendants of Charles Lindbergh have met with three Germans who claim the aviator was their father, a spokesman for the three said Friday.

The two men and a woman, who say their mother had a secret relationship with the married pilot for years, met with the Lindbergh descendants at an undisclosed location in Europe, said Anton Schwenk, the spokesman for the Germans.

Citing the wishes of the Lindbergh family, Schwenk declined to say when the meeting occurred or which descendants attended. He did say the group got on well together.

"It was not as if they had known each other for 40 years, but it didn't take long for them to begin to develop a relationship," Schwenk said.

The German siblings - Dyrk and David Hesshaimer and their sister, Astrid Bouteuil - have taken DNA tests to prove their claims but the results have not arrived, he said.

Marlene White, executive director of the Lindbergh Foundation in Anoka, Minn., declined comment.

The Germans came forward this summer with their claim, offering as evidence a bundle of 112 letters that they claim Lindbergh wrote to their mother, Brigitte Hesshaimer. They say they don't want money, just acknowledgment that Lindbergh was their father.

The Lindbergh family in the United States has acknowledged the claim, but has not commented further.

"While it is important for us to discover the truth in this matter, it is clearly a private and personal issue which we feel is inappropriate to explore through the media," the family said in an Aug. 8. statement

Lindbergh's 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic made him a global celebrity. He married Anne Morrow in 1929, and they had six children. In 1932, their first-born baby son was kidnapped and murdered.

The marriage endured until Lindbergh's death in 1974, but during the last decades of his life he roamed the globe, rarely visiting his Connecticut home.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh died in 2001, as did Brigitte Hesshaimer.
 

Germans: 'Lindbergh Is Our Dad'

Associated Press, MUNICH, Germany, Aug. 15, 2003

(AP) Three German siblings who claim they are the illegitimate children of legendary pilot Charles Lindbergh said Thursday they want to take genetic tests to prove it.

Speaking together to reporters for the first time since their story was published two weeks ago, Dyrk and David Hesshaimer and their sister, Astrid Bouteuil, said they don't want money, just acknowledgment that Lindbergh is their father.

“That is the most important thing we have to repeat,” the eldest sibling, 45-year-old Dyrk Hesshaimer, said in English.

The Hesshaimer children have offered no proof beyond a bundle of 112 letters Lindbergh allegedly wrote to their mother, Brigitte. They also have childhood photographs with the famed aviator and their own recollections of the tall, lanky man who they knew as Careau Kent.

Pressed about offering more concrete evidence, Dyrk Hesshaimer said: “We are open to a genetic test.” The family's lawyer said they would pursue a DNA test later this year.

The siblings have not contacted the Lindbergh family in the United States, which has refused to comment on their claim. Lindbergh had six children with Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and the oldest, Charles Jr., was kidnapped and murdered in 1932 at 20 months of age.

The Hesshaimer children, born between 1958 and 1967, said they didn't realize Lindbergh was their father until the early 1980s when Bouteuil, the middle child, began asking questions.

After discovering a bundle of letters allegedly written by Lindbergh and addressed to her mother, Bouteuil confronted her and was finally told that Kent was actually Lindbergh.

The children promised to keep the secret until after both their mother and Anne Morrow Lindbergh were deceased. Both died in 2001.

Lindbergh's Pulitzer-prize winning biographer, A. Scott Berg, told The Associated Press when the siblings made their claim that it would have been out of character for Lindbergh to father the siblings.

The Hesshaimers say Lindbergh met their mother, a Munich hat maker, and fell in love in the mid 1950s when he spent much of his time traveling the globe.

Lindbergh would visit the family once or twice a year when the children were young, staying for five days to two weeks, Dyrk Hesshaimer said, and their mother forbade them from discussing their father outside of the family.

“We quickly built up a close relationship to him,” he said. “We didn't have the time together with him that other children had with their fathers, but when he was there he concentrated very intensively on us.”

Bouteil, 43, recalled long breakfasts where her mother and Lindbergh would talk for hours, and of the people he'd met.

“I knew that he was something special,” Dyrk Hesshaimer said. “He had knowledge about U.S. politics that wasn't in the TV news at the time.”

Their mother received what would be her final letter dated Aug. 16, 1974. It read, “I am losing energy everyday. My love to you and the children, all I can send.”

Brigitte Hesshaimer later read in the papers that Lindbergh had died of cancer on Aug. 26, 1974 She told her children simply that their father was dead.