In 1989, Kimberly Mays became a media sensation when genetic tests revealed that she had been switched at birth with another baby

By Tiare Dunlap
November 30, 2015 04:50 PM

A Florida woman who made national headlines as the focus of a shocking switched at birth horror story at age 10 is opening up about her tumultuous years out of the spotlight.

In 1989, Kimberly Mays became a media sensation when genetic tests revealed that she had been switched with another baby shortly after her birth at Hardee Memorial Hospital in Wachula, Fla. on November 29, 1978.

Her biological parents, Ernest and Regina Twigg, were sent home with a baby girl named Arlena, who suffered from a congenital heart defect and died at 9 years old. After a blood test revealed Arlena was not their biological child, the Twiggs fought to gain custody of Kimberly, accusing her father, Robert Mays, of bribing the hospital to switch the infants due to Arlena’s illness.

In August 1993, then 14-year-old Kimberly won a highly publicized lawsuit to divorce her biological parents, only to move in with them two years later.

For the next 22 years, Mays worked hard to escape the spotlight that plagued her teenage years – moving more than two dozen times and cutting all ties with friends and family. Now, the 36-year-old mother of six is opening up about her life to Barbara Walters in an episode of Barbara Walters Presents American Scandals. (Walters previously interviewed Kimberly at age 14 for the TV special, Switched at Birth: Kimberly’s Story, which aired before the trial completed.)

In the interview, Mays revisits years of pain and upheaval as the Twiggs and her father were locked in a tug-of-war over the teen – and the issues that drove her in and out her biological parents’ home.

“Honestly, I had an identity crisis I wanted to find out who I was and what my roots were, how they were as a family and a unit,” she told Walters of her decision to move in with the Twiggs.

She adds that resentment from her biological siblings drove her to leave two years later. “They just I guess harbored resentment at the fact that Regina was so consumed with the switch, so consumed with me,” she says. “I couldn t handle the resentment, the bickering and arguing and yelling at me. They wanted their mom back.”

Following her departure from the Twiggs’ home, Kimberly married at 18, had her first child at 19 and was divorced by age 22.

She’s now been married two times, has six kids by four different men and works at a call center in Clearwater, Fla. to support her family.

Watch Walters’ interviews with both families and emotional reunion with Mays on Investigation Discovery Monday night at 10 p.m. ET.