Randy Bryant says a recent DNA test shows he is not the father of a child born back in 1988, but his paychecks are still being garnished.
Bryant says he has been questioning his paternity from the beginning but no one would listen.
“I always stressed the need for DNA. It went on deaf ears. The courts, social services and my attorney ... they just kept telling me to leave it alone. It’s in the best interest of the child,” Bryant said.
Bryant says he was young and broke and couldn’t keep up with payments. He admits sometimes he didn’t pay as a silent protest.
“I went to jail for a year over this,” he said.
Bryant says the truth was finally revealed earlier this year when he learned he had a heart problem that could be genetic. He contacted his daughter and said a DNA test was important for health reasons.
The pair finally went for testing but headed to separate labs, because, at this point, there were hard feelings. Cassi Ferris considered Bryant a deadbeat dad who rejected her.
Ferris explains she grew up hating Bryant because she felt abandoned. The only time she ever saw him was when he went to court to face a judge for back child support. She met Bryant in handcuffs.
“Well, that was awkward,” Ferris said.
Ferris said she was told Bryant was 100-percent her father her entire life. She says the test results stunned her.
“I was like 0.00-percent! I was not expecting that at all. I burst into tears, because everything I had always known was a lie. It was rough, a lot of tears,” said Ferris.
“'You’re not the father,' and my chin hit the floor. I couldn't say, 'Wow,' enough. Mind-blowing ... just as I've been saying all along ...exonerated,” said Bryant.
The two agreed to meet for breakfast the Saturday morning following that test. What could have been a goodbye became the beginning.
Bryant and Ferris now spend time together. They went to the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s concert Sunday night, and Bryant even goes to soccer games to watch Ferris' children play.
“I have this heartache on me. I grew up hating you and thinking you were this deadbeat person who rejected me. I like you. You are a good man,” said Ferris.
Bryant admits he’s a bit sad the test revealed Ferris is not his biological daughter. He says explaining who she is to him is a bit tough.
“I guess maybe the spot-on term would be the daughter I never had really,” said Bryant.
Bryant still owes more than $36,000 in back child support. His checks are still being garnished even though he has provided proof to Missouri Child Support enforcement.
Ferris supports ending the payments. She doesn’t receive any money, ut her biological mother receives automatic payments.
Ferris' mother says she would like another DNA test performed. She is stunned the test showed Bryant isn’t the father. She says if further testing shows Bryant is not the biological father, she will support ending the payments.
Ferris feels the current DNA test conducted by a certified lab is accurate and should end the discussion.
“I feel like the Department of Family Services just really doesn't care. 'Uhm, sorry. Case is closed. We are still going to take your money.' That isn't right!” exclaimed Ferris.
Ferris and her father say the best explanation they have been given is that Ferris' file was sealed when she was 22, so it will take a judge to reverse the decision.
KCTV5 News reached out to Missouri’s Department of Social Services requesting an explanation on why the payments can’t at least be put on hold. We never received a response.
Bryant has hired a lawyer, but he says he’s learned his lessons about child support.
“I just learned over the years not to hold my breath for nothing ... you might die. I'm not holding my breath.” he said.
Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.