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DNA test for tsunami survivor 'Baby 81'
Updated: 2005-02-03 08:57

A Sri Lankan couple claiming to be the parents of the tsunami survivor known as "Baby 81" stormed a hospital Wednesday to see the child after a court ordered DNA tests.

The tsunami survivor known as "Baby 81" [AP]
The distraught couple was later arrested in the eastern town of Kalmunai for assault and criminal trespass. Police said the pair assaulted hospital workers.

The order dismayed the couple, who now face an agonizing wait of eight weeks or more for the tests to be completed.

The judge ordered that the baby stay in the hospital until the issue is settled.

The plight of Baby 81 so named because he was the 81st admission to the hospital Dec. 26, the day the tsunami struck has become emblematic of the disaster's effect on families.

In Sri Lanka alone, the waves claimed the lives of some 12,000 children, about 40 percent of Sri Lanka's death toll of 31,000.

In the days immediately after the tsunami, nine women claimed the boy as their own, although only one couple, Murugupillai and Jenita Jeyarajah, lodged a formal custody claim.

They said documents proving the boy was theirs were swept away.

The couple walked about a kilometer to the hospital with 70 to 100 relatives and friends and forced their way into the pediatric ward where Baby 81 is being kept.

Murugupillai threatened to commit suicide "if I don't have the baby," as two men stopped him from swallowing some white powder.

Authorities shut the hospital gates and called police, and the crowd left the hospital without the baby.

More chaos followed when the 200 hospital staff went on strike alleging that two of them had been assaulted by the crowd.

They soon resumed their duties when police promised to investigate.

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