A 59-year-old great-grandmother who claimed in an Associated Press story last year that she was pregnant with twins admitted Tuesday that she is not.
Frances Harris’ claim gained widespread attention after the rural Sylvester, Ga., woman and her family told her story the same week that a 56-year-old woman gave birth to twins in New York.
“To the surprise of even her family, it was recently discovered that Harris is not pregnant with twins,” Harris said in a statement distributed Tuesday by her 39-year-old son, Fred Jackson. “Due to some personal issues that are still being evaluated, Mrs. Harris believed that she was pregnant with twins and was able to convince her family and friends that she was expecting as well.”
It was unclear from the statement whether Harris was pregnant at all. When asked, her son said, “I don’t know.”
Harris did not answer the door or phone at her rural home Tuesday. She has not responded to questions from the AP for weeks.
“The family of Mrs. Frances Harris regrets that this situation has occurred and apologizes for any inconvenience that may have caused,” said the statement, signed by Mrs. Harris and Jackson. “At this time, the family wishes to put this situation behind them and will not be making any more statements.”
Harris’ youngest daughter, Kendal Byrd, originally called the AP office in New York in November after Aleta St. James gave birth to twins by in-vitro fertilization three days before her 57th birthday. In an interview Nov. 11 at her home, Harris said she did not know she was pregnant until she visited a doctor in August because of unusual weight gain over the summer.
Harris originally claimed to be carrying twins due Dec. 21. As Christmas approached and the date passed, Byrd said doctors had given her mother a new due date of Dec. 28. She had described her mother as grouchy, tired and “in pain, having some small contractions.”
A mother of five, grandmother of 14 and great-grandmother of six, Harris said in November that she had not been trying to get pregnant and even had her tubes tied 33 years earlier. She claimed her ex-husband had fathered the twins and said the couple planned to remarry before the birth.
Byrd, 34, did not respond Tuesday to AP’s attempts to reach her at her home or on the phone. In previous interviews, she said she had been taking her mother to medical appointments at the Affinity Health Group in Tifton, where officials declined to comment.
“We have no statements to make,” Affinity spokeswoman Venita Kennedy said.