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January 29, 2003

Judge dismisses suit after cult says cloned baby living in Israel

A Jewish clone or a way of skirting American law? Cult head claims clone is in Israel.
FORT LAUDERDALE -- Broward Circuit Judge John Frusciante ruled Wednesday that he has no jurisdiction in the Clonaid case and threw the case out after the president of the group claimed the world's first cloned baby, which is known as Eve, is living in Israel.

Brigitte Boisselier, president of the shadowy group Clonaid, made the disclosure during a hearing into whether Florida should appoint a guardian for the child. She also said two other cloned babies have been born since Eve's alleged birth late last month.

The group has offered no proof that the babies are clones or even exist. Boisselier originally promised DNA tests on Eve, but later backed out saying the parents were concerned the court was trying to take the baby away.

Boisselier is a member of the Raelians, a religious sect that believes beings from outer space created life on Earth. Its founder, a former French journalist who calls himself Rael, established Clonaid in 1997.

Wednesday, Boisselier said she has only seen a videotape of Eve and has lost contact with the child's parents.

"I can tell you this baby is not in the United State and has never been in the United States," Boisselier said.

Ordered to tell where the baby was, Boisselier said: " The baby is in israel ... The child and mother are in Israel." She said she did not have an exact address and had lost contact with them.

After Boisselier's testimony, Frusciante ruled that he has no jurisdiction because there was no proof the child had been in Florida and tossed the case out. He did request that the Florida Department of Children and Families and child agencies in Israel look into the child's welfare [more]