SARASOTA, Fla. — Television movie rights have been sold for the baby-swap story of an 11-year-old who recently was told she was the daughter of a couple she had never met.
Attorneys say Kimberly Mays was switched in a hospital nursery with another newborn and for 10 years the children were raised by the wrong parents.
Bob Mays, who reared Kimberly since birth, sold the rights to their custody battle Thursday to Hollywood television producers for an undisclosed sum that includes a college education fund.
Mays, who will be a script consultant on the project, said he made the deal to publicize his fight to keep his daughter and to pay legal bills he estimates will top $100,000.
Ernest and Regina Twigg, who were living in Langhorne, Pa. at the time, filed suit for genetic testing of Kimberly after they discovered the girl they raised was not their natural daughter.
After a lengthy court battle, Mays consented last year to genetic testing of Kimberly on condition that whatever the findings, the Twiggs would not seek custody. The Twiggs agreed to settle for visitation with a schedule to be worked out later.
Attorneys for both sides called the tests conclusive--Arlena was the Mayses' child and Kimberly the daughter of the Twiggs, who have since moved to Sebring. Arlena died of heart disease in 1988.
Mays, whose wife died in 1981, said his daughter is excited about the deal.
"It's quite a thing to realize that all of a sudden a movie is going to be made about you," he said.
Los Angeles producer Michael O'Hara, who beat out nearly 40 other production companies for the movie rights, said the custody battle over Kimberly was a natural for a dramatized television movie.
O'Hara said NBC has given him the go-ahead for the project, but a script must still receive final network approval. The movie could air as early as this fall.
Actors would be hired to portray Bob and Kimberly Mays, but their contract gives them an option to appear in the film in minor roles, O'Hara added.