‘I am Brittany Renee Williams’: Woman says she has DNA to prove she is Virginia girl missing 21 years
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A woman in Indiana has come forward, saying she has DNA evidence proving she is Brittany Renee Williams, a 7-year-old child who went missing from Henrico, Virginia, in 2000.
For 21 years, there had been no trace of Brittany, a tiny girl with an angelic face, known for her magnetic smile. She was treated for AIDS and lived with Kim Parker, who ran an independent foster home out of her house in Henrico.
Brittany vanished from the home in 2000. She hadn’t shown up to school, and Parker did not produce Brittany for court hearings.
A police search ensued, even involving local authorities digging up Parker’s backyard.
Detectives have long presumed Brittany Williams to be dead, especially without her AIDS medication.
But, that may not be true.
Twenty-one years later, Kaylynn Stevenson, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, says she is Brittany Renee Williams. Stevenson also says she has a certified, in-lab DNA test to prove it, taken at Labcorp.
When you look at Stevenson, her magnetic smile, pronounced cheekbones, and other delicate facial features bear an uncanny resemblance to the little girl on the missing child posters.
NBC12 traveled to Indiana to talk with Stevenson. She closely watched NBC12′s cold-case story aiming to help generate tips, and justice, for Brittany Williams.
“You all weren’t looking in the right state,” she said aloud to herself, commenting on the search for Brittany Williams.
The state Stevenson is referring to is Ohio. That’s where she had lived much of her life with her adoptive parents, who gave her that name.
Stevenson recently started researching her biological family, pulling from her strained memories.
“A lot of going back and forth to Richmond, Virginia to Columbus, Ohio,” recalled Stevenson. “Back and forth all the time.”
Stevenson says she has a spotty memory of her childhood, only able to recall bits and pieces.
“The room I used to be in was like a pastel-pink type room,” said Stevenson. “I will always remember this one little boy who was in a wheelchair. He was non-verbal. He was a sweetheart.”
The charity or foster home that Parker ran during the 1990′s was called Rainbow Kids. Attorneys say Parker took in as many as 50 kids over the years, many with serious medical issues or developmental disabilities.
“Her Rainbow Kids operation was her entire existence,” said Henrico Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Feinmel in a 2019 interview with NBC12. Feinmel prosecuted the fraud case ultimately brought against Parker.
“The money coming in was how (Parker) was living,” Feinmel said.
Henrico Police cold case detective Lt. Kevin Howdyshell says multiple people who knew Kim Parker at the time, contacted Henrico’s child protective services.
“Concern of potential neglect, concern of potential maltreatment of some of the children,” Howdyshell said.
Ultimately, Parker told police she sent Brittany to live with the two women in California. However, Henrico police say that wasn’t true.
Parker was indicted on 73 counts of fraud, accused of taking $24,000 in government benefits intended for Brittany, according to court documents. Parker ultimately took a plea deal to spend 10 years behind bars.
“I don’t remember a lot because so much was going on that... especially when you’re young...you can’t understand,” said Stevenson.
“I do remember a feeding tube. I do remember that,” Stevenson added.
A large, round scar can clearly be seen on Stevenson’s upper abdomen. Stevenson has multiple other scars on her stomach from surgeries she said she underwent as a child. But she can’t remember what exactly those surgeries were, or for what reason.
“(A large linear scar on Stevenson’s stomach) went down here… all the way up to my chest,” motioned Stevenson, tracing the scar. “So there is no telling what was actually removed.”
Multiple other smaller scars can be seen on Stevenson’s upper left chest. She says they were left by catheters.
Catheter scars were listed in the description on many missing child posters for Brittany.
But there’s one detail Stevenson says didn’t fade from her memory, even though the name ‘Brittany’ did.
“I did remember the last name ‘Williams.’ For some reason, it’s implanted in the back of my mind,” she said.
In the seconds it took for her to Google ‘missing children’ and the name ‘Williams,’ Stevenson said her life didn’t just change - it was revealed to her.
“And Brittany Renee Williams’ photo popped up,” said Stevenson, excited. “I woke my wife up out of her sleep and was like, ‘This is me! I know me when I see me. This is me!’”
“From the hairline to the ears, to the smile, to the chin,” said Ladajah Kelly, Stevenson’s wife. ‘Even the mole on her neck… I started putting the pieces together that that was really her.”
But despite the uncanny similarities, Stevenson says she didn’t get answers from her adoptive parents about her adoption. Stevenson’s birth certificate does not match the birthdate of Brittany Williams. Stevenson says she has not yet been able to get hold of adoption documents.
Multiple sources confirm to NBC12 that Henrico Police and FBI agents are testing Stevenson’s DNA with the only other daughter of Rose Marie Thompson. Stevenson says Indiana FBI agents did take a DNA sample from her in person.
“I don’t have AIDS at all,” said Stevenson, who says she’s donated blood and had blood work completed multiple times in her life.
She also has her own 7-year-old biological daughter, Isabella, who is the joy of her life.
No medical doctor ever told Stevenson that she was HIV positive or had AIDS. She says she’s also received bloodwork results proving that.
Before effective HIV/AIDS treatment was available, about 25% of HIV-positive mothers passed the virus to their babies while pregnant, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
“The façade that everybody has put on is just like—wow,” said Stevenson. “Y’all don’t care about a human life. Y’all are so greedy and focused on money… I was basically robbed of a life I could have had.”
So far, Investigators have stayed tight-lipped on the cold case, not even telling Stevenson the identity of the potential half-sister they swabbed for DNA in Richmond.
So, NBC12 tracked down Anastasia McElroy, the first daughter of the late Rose Marie Thompson, Brittany’s mother. McElroy was ultimately adopted by another family, as well.
When we showed McElroy a picture of Stevenson while she was standing on her front porch, McElroy immediately began crying with emotion.
“I just started bawling and bawling,” said McElroy. “The emotion was so powerful, it kind of took over my entire spiritual being.”
We connected the pair, and their undeniable connection was instant.
“Look at that smile on her face,” said McElroy in a video call with her sister. “I knew it was you.”
“I was actually ecstatic. She acts like a big sister,” said Stevenson, who now talks to McElroy on a near-daily basis. “A family member that cares… that genuinely cares. And she looks like me. And her kids look like me,” smiled Stevenson.
Stevenson and McElroy wasted no time taking their own, in-lab DNA test through Labcorp. They say they were not surprised by the results. The report, which can be used as a legal court document, says the two have a 95.83% probability of being half-sisters.
“And yes. I’m going by Brittany now. I don’t want no ties to my adoptive name. That is not me,” said Stevenson.
Sarah Minter was a childhood friend of Brittany, who initially reached out to NBC12 to do a cold-case story on her gentle, lost friend, whom she had never forgotten.
“There was a couple mornings that I vividly remember she (Brittany) was kind of sad getting on the school bus.” We also connected Stevenson and Minter via a video chat.
“You were such a sweet child. You were so soft-spoken. You have this beautiful smile... like you have right now,” said Minter through tears looking at Stevenson during the video call. “The same exact smile… I know it’s going to be really hard for you, but this is like a new beginning. Like everything bad that happened - this is your time for justice.”
Stevenson is currently fighting in court over custody of her daughter, Isabella. She believes that proving that she’s Brittany Williams will help her keep her child.
“When you look at the missing person flyer, what do you think about that little girl?” I asked. “That little girl went through a lot... but she survived, and everybody thought otherwise,” said Stevenson. “She’s still here. She is me, and I am her. And so many people tried to break me down to where I was nothing. But every time, I got back up and decided to keep fighting, keep pushing. Got through with my smile.”
It’s a smile that radiates with a 100 percent probability when Stevenson is with those who matter to her most - her wife, Dajah, and their two daughters, Isabella and Sarai.
“Blood does not lie and a DNA test does not lie at all. So, I don’t have AIDS, but I am Brittany Renee Williams.”
There are still many questions surrounding this case. Stevenson and McElroy, and no doubt many others, will be awaiting the DNA results from Henrico Police, and any impact they could have on Kaylynn or Brittany’s life.
“This case is active, and we are working with our federal partners,” said Lt. Pecka, a spokesperson for Henrico Police.
NBC12 did email and mail a letter to Kim Parker and has not yet heard back. We also reached out to Kaylynn’s adoptive parents through their attorney. We also have not heard back at this time.
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