A woman has spoken of the horror she felt on discovering her late husband was in fact her father.
Valerie Spruill, 60, from Doylestown, Ohio, only made the horrifying discovery through a DNA test after her husband Percy had died.
Spruill, who has three children and eight grandchildren, is now telling her story in an attempt to find her other siblings from her father.
‘It needs to be told, because children need to know where they come from,’ she told the Akron Beacon Journal. ‘And I know it hurts, because I have been devastated by this.’
The confusion began because she was looked after by her grandparents from 3-months-old.
Her mother Christine was one of three ‘night ladies,’ as she terms it, who testified in a 1980 trial of Summit County Probate Judge James Barbuto who was convicted of sex charges.
Valerie’s mother and father got together when he was just 15 and the number of children they had is unclear. She is aware of six brothers.
She was cared for by her grandparents and her mother visited, although Valerie thought she was a family friend.
Aged nine, she was devastated when she found out Christine’s identity – who died in 1984 – as well as discovering that the man she thought was her father was actually her grandfather.
But she was not told who her real father was and Valerie later met and married Percy.
Born in Mississippi, Percy worked in Akron as a truck driver and, later, as a parking-lot attendant.
He died in 1998 at the age of 60, but for years, she heard odd rumours about their relationship.
She finally learned the truth from an uncle not long after her Percy’s death and confirmed the relationship with a DNA test after finding his hairs on a brush in their room.
She is not 100 per cent certain Percy knew he married his daughter because it was not mentioned, but she strongly believes he was aware of the taboo but was simply afraid to tell her.
Now retired, Valerie worked for 34 years in the accounting department at Goodyear.
Since the revelations, Valerie has been seeing a therapist to help her deal with the repercussions.
Valerie has fought through serious health problems which she believes were only brought on by the stress of discovering the traumatic family secret.
She is hoping her story may help her reach additional siblings she didn’t know existed.
‘My biggest goal is to find them and let ’em know that [their mother] loved them, no matter what,’ she said. ‘And [to say], ‘Thank God she gave you away like she did me, so you could have a beautiful life.’