28 November 2003
MUNICH – A woman and her two brothers in Munich said Friday that they now have DNA evidence firmly establishing that they were fathered by US aviation hero Charles Lindbergh.
The agency representing the three said the DNA test had proven to 99 percent certainty that Lindbergh (1902-1974) was their father.
Lindbergh, who became an international hero after he was the first to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, had maintained a secret relationship with Munich hatmaker Brigitte Hesshaimer for the last 17 years of his life. He met Hesshaimer around 1957.
The three children were identified as Astrid Bouteuil, who now lives in Paris, and her brothers Dyrk and David Hesshaimer. Their birth certificates say “father unknown”.
The trio made their story public only in August 2003 in a story in the Munich daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, some two years after their mother’s death. They backed their revelation with letters written by Lindbergh to their mother and with photos.
In one letter, the man who signed it “C” – for either Careu or Charles – spoke of “our children”. Lindbergh scholars and experts who later saw copies of the letters said they were convinced of their authenticity.
Soon after making their revelation – which initially met with disbelief among the Lindbergh family in the United States – the three sought a DNA test to back up their claim.
Astrid Bouteuil told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung that she discovered the identity of her father only by accident. After her mother’s death she came across the letters, tied up in a ribbon, in her mother’s attic.
Subject: German news