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Reunion of estranged twins who bumped into each other online blows the lid off a bizarre scam

Georgian teen Elene was scrolling on TikTok back in 2022 when she stumbled upon the account of Anna, who looked identical to her and they eventually figured out they were twins.
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Becerra Govea Photo
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Becerra Govea Photo

Coming across a lookalike or running into an estranged twin sounds like the plot of a movie, but sometimes reality can surpass fiction. It was 2022 when a Georgian teen named Elene Deisadze was scrolling through her TikTok page and found another girl who looked exactly like her. After checking the other girl's account thoroughly, she found out that her name was Anna Panchulidze. When Deisadze reached out to Pachulidze, they had an instant connection but little did they know, they were not just doppelgangers. 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Vidal Balielo Jr.
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Vidal Balielo Jr.

Several months later, thanks to a DNA test arranged by a journalist, the girls realized that they were long-lost twins. It was a bittersweet moment for both of them as they were finally reunited after spending years without even knowing about each other's existence. “I had a happy childhood but now my entire past felt like a deception,” Panchulidze told AFP, according to the Daily Mail. “We became friends without suspecting we might be sisters, but both of us felt there was some special bond between us,” Deisadze told AFP.

However, there was a dark secret behind the separation of the twin sisters, which Georgian journalist Tamuna Museridze came across while conducting a country-wide investigation into a scam at the country's hospitals. Museridze started probing the matter after she stumbled upon two different birth certificates at her mother's home when she passed away in 2016. “We found out it was systemic, and we found out there are more than 100,000 children stolen in Georgia’s hospitals,” Museridze told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), per New York Post.  She also spoke about it in a BBC documentary featuring other children who were stolen as well.


Her investigation took her to the criminal underbelly of Georgia exposing criminal organizations, doctors, and even government officials. Panchulidze's adoptive mother, Patmani revealed to the outlet that she spent a fortune to adopt Panchulidze in 2005. “I had no clue. At that time, you had to wait ages to adopt somebody. My husband and I were personally waiting for six years before we got Anna,” she told ABC. “We really had no idea about the corrupt system and I wouldn’t even imagine such a thing.”

On the other hand, Deisadze's adoptive mother, Lia told AFP that “adopting from an orphanage seemed virtually impossible due to incredibly long waiting lists.” “They brought Elene right to my house,” Lia said, adding that she never suspected there was anything illegal about adopting from a hospital. Now, the twin sisters hope to find their biological parents who might not even know about their existence. "Sometimes their biological parents were lied to and were told that your child is dead, maybe our parents think we are dead, we are not even alive, it would be so great to find them and tell them the truth,” Deisadze told ABC.


Meanwhile, Museridze continues her work to reunite stolen children with their biological parents and has opened a Facebook group with more than 250,000 members. “It was pretty clear it was well-structured illegal business in this country,” Museridze revealed. She has also teamed up with human rights lawyer Lia Mukhashavria to further investigate the long-running kidnapping scheme. According to KPRC, Georgia is not the only country that has a flourishing child trafficking scam. Attorney Anthony Clarkson mentioned to the outlet that an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 children were illegally or forcibly adopted in Chile in the 1970s and ’80s during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship.


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