“Like a bomb exploded.” That’s what those involved say about the mistakes in TV programs without a tracewhich came to light on Tuesday in an episode of Scammers Tackled. They state that in addition to the two ‘mismatches’ covered in the program, at least five other cases have gone wrong with the reuniting of adopted children with their original families.
In the program, television maker Kees van der Spek showed that via without a trace in recent years several adoptees in Colombia have been linked to wrong biological relatives. The ‘mismatches’ came about through a Colombian and Dutch employee of the program.
After the broadcast, broadcaster KRO-NCRV acknowledged that mistakes were indeed made with two participants. The broadcaster does not want to respond to questions from the NOS and says it wants to do its own research first. A spokesperson only refers to this press statement.
But according to Fiona Teggatz it is about more than two mismatches. She and her friend Barbara Quee run an agency helping Colombian adoptees. Since the broadcast, the two have been approached by many more Colombians in the Netherlands, says Teggatz. Some also participated without a trace and fear that their business has also been made mistakes.
Kees van der Spek and Barbara Quee told about the mismatches in the talk show Jinek:
Spoorloos linked 2 participants to the wrong family
In the without a tracebusiness was centered on a Colombian fixer, Edwin Vela. Vela was also involved in the case of Juliette and her sisters, whose last name is known to the editors. They teamed up with . in 2019 without a trace. “They told us that our mother was found by Edwin Vela.” The news came as a shock to the sisters: “We didn’t know any better than that our biological mother was dead, because that was written on our birth certificate”.
But according to Vela, the woman was still alive. “But according to him, our mother did not want contact. She was afraid, because she had a lot on her plate, he said.” By the delivery of Scammers Tackled Juliette and her living sister have serious doubts about that story.
The broadcast made her angry, sad and surprised. “Angry because Edwin could look families in the face and do this. I find that really inhumane and degrading.”
Yaneth Palacio Menger also had contact with without a trace. She approached the editors in the 90s and initially heard nothing for years. Years later, Palacio Menger received a call: the editors told her that her biological mother had been found. She just couldn’t come to the Netherlands. “Your world will be turned upside down.”
According to the editors, there was no moving image of Palacio Menger’s mother, but a reconstruction had been made based on Vela’s findings. “My mother got pregnant on the street as a 15-year-old and could not take care of me. In the metropolis of Medellín, Vela had found family on the street, they said.”
Palacio Menger was shown photos. “You immediately look for similarities. It was very emotional.” ‘s team without a trace was going to Medellín to film Palacio Menger’s mother. “But she was gone a few days before their departure. According to Vela, she did not have a permanent address, but lived with relatives in FARC territory. My mother was said to have been taken by the FARC. According to him it was too dangerous to go there .”
Traceless also does good things, only in this case our identity and suffering have been played with.
Ultimately, Palacio Menger’s story was broadcast on television. “A few days later I got a call from without a trace. The photos used in the broadcast were not my mother’s. I was furious, how dare you broadcast that?”
Since the broadcast of Scammers Tackled is she upset. “Your right to exist is wavering, I’ll take that carelessness without a trace sorry. Why hasn’t a DNA test been done, why hasn’t the editors done more research themselves?”
The editors have not yet contacted Palacio Menger. Juliette’s sister has been approached. “I believe in second chances and so does my sister, but they will have to work for it.”
Fiona Teggatz calls the course of events extremely painful. “without a trace also does good things, only in this case our identity and our suffering have been played with.”