KALKASKA, Mich. (AP) – The same chubby cheeks. The same round face and bright, blue eyes. And, most important, the faint scar on his chin.

John Barnes does indeed bear a striking resemblance to photos of a 2-year-old boy who was snatched from outside a bakery on New York’s Long Island in 1955. And he hopes DNA tests will confirm the suspicions he’s harbored virtually his entire life – that the couple who raised him were not his biological parents.

“I’m really glad that I’m finally finding all of this out, finding out who I’m related to. Because I didn’t want to get old and die and not know,” Barnes, a laborer who is now in his 50s, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Barnes said he never really bonded with the mother and father who raised him. They didn’t look like him, and they just didn’t seem like family.

“They would say, ‘Oh, you look like your grandpa so-and-so or your uncle so-and-so.’ But they never had any pictures to show me to compare it with. … I just had a hunch that something was fishy,” Barnes said.

“I never asked them if they kidnapped me. I asked them why I was so different from them,” Barnes said of his parents.

Asked about a possible abduction, the man who raised Barnes called the idea “a bunch of foolishness.”

“I’m his dad,” Richard Barnes said. He shook his head and replied, “no, no,” when asked by a reporter if he had kidnapped John Barnes.

John Barnes said the woman who raised him hinted before her death about a decade ago that she was not his biological mother.

“She requested that I come over there by myself, and she wanted to talk to me. I think that’s what she was trying to tell me,” he said.

Years earlier, Barnes had started his own investigation and found some potential answers on the Internet – a few pictures that led him to conclude he could be the missing toddler, Stephen Damman.

Barnes said pictures of the missing boy’s mother when she was a young adult resembled what he looked like at the same age.

“I thought I looked like her, so I had something to sink my teeth into,” said Barnes, who has done farm and factory work but is currently unemployed.

The mother, Marilyn Damman, left the boy and his 7-month-old sister waiting outside a bakery while she went inside to shop on Oct. 31, 1955, according to police and news accounts at the time.

Back in 1955, Marilyn Damman came out of the bakery after 10 minutes but could not find her children. The stroller, with only her daughter inside, was found around the corner from the market a short time later. A flier at the time said the boy walked with his toes turned out and had a small scar under his chin.

“Yeah, I do have a scar,” Barnes told the AP as he pointed to a faint line, less than an inch, that runs below his chin and slightly up the right side of his face. “This story’s really strange. I can’t believe it myself sometimes.”

Barnes said he was born in 1955 – the same year a 2-year-old Stephen Damman disappeared – but only saw his birth certificate once and no longer has a copy. He said the FBI is looking into the discrepancy as part of its investigation.

Barnes said he began his research around 1992, doing it the “old-fashioned way” and not “getting anywhere.” Barnes said he went to Florida, his supposed birthplace, but did not make much progress until he was doing online research within the past year.

Richard Barnes is retired and lives in a rural subdivision just eight miles from his son, although the two have not talked in about a year. Richard Barnes said his son was born in a Navy hospital in Pensacola, Fla., on Aug. 18, 1955.

“We brought him home two days later, and he’s never been out of our sight,” the elder Barnes said, referring to John’s childhood.

During his research on the kidnapping, the younger Barnes said he drove to Newton, Iowa, where Jerry Damman, the father of the missing boy, lives. But they did not meet.

“I didn’t want to, you know, say, ‘Well, I’m your long-lost son,”‘ Barnes said. “I just wanted to get a look at the guy.”

Physically, Barnes resembles somewhat the Iowa farmer he believes could be his biological father, though they are far from identical. Both men have fair skin with a ruddy complexion. Both have blue eyes and wide, round faces.

Reached Wednesday in Iowa, Damman told the AP “it’s almost too good to believe” that Barnes could be his son.

Barnes said he has become close with the woman who could be his sister, Pamela Horne of Kansas City, and talks with her on the phone each day. They did a home DNA test in March.

“We got a really high score on it,” indicating that they two could be related. “That’s how the FBI got involved,” he said.

Associated Press writers Frank Eltman and Amy Westfeldt in New York, Nigel Duara and Melanie S. Welte in Iowa, and AP researcher Susan James contributed to this report.

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