The following article was in my local newspaper today.
Man still hunting to see if Elvis is his dad
Posted by Brad Flory Jackson Citizen Patriot September 28, 2008 07:00AM
Four years is a long time to search for clues to confirm the identity of an unknown father.
The task is even more trying when the suspected father is Elvis Presley.
"It would be easier if it was someone less famous," said Tim Farrell, a 53-year-old truck mechanic in Jackson. "People wouldn't be so incredulous."
For four years, Farrell has tracked down clues but found nothing to prove or disprove his dead mother's claim that Elvis was his father.
A certain stigma attaches to that sort of search. Many people first assume Farrell must be either crazy or a publicity-seeker.
He is neither.
"I don't claim to be Elvis' kid," Farrell said. "I just want to know if it is true. I would not have chosen this for myself."
After years of dead ends, maybe his luck is improving.
Thanks to the advance of science, Farrell's odds of finding a genetic fingerprint for Elvis Presley improved greatly in the summer.
Does he sing like Elvis?
Judge for yourself. Six songs recorded by Tim Farrell and Jackson musicians can be heard online at blog.mlive.com/bradosphere
A cutting-edge procedure called "touch DNA" makes it far more likely to find DNA left scattered around the country by Elvis.
"This is brand-new, and it opens a lot of doors," Farrell said.
Farrell, a Tennessee native who had an adoptive father, was as surprised as anyone when he first heard his mother's claim 30 years ago.
His mother, Rebecca Holland, announced shortly after Presley's death that Farrell was conceived in 1954 during a one-night-stand with Elvis in Memphis. The story made lots of newspapers.
"It's my mother's account of something. That's all," Farrell said. "She had no proof."
Peggy Ryan, sister of Farrell's mother, has no proof, either. But she believes.
"My sister told me she knew Elvis and had been out with him," said Ryan of Jackson, Tenn. "She didn't tell me she slept with him. You didn't tell that kind of thing back then."
Holland died of colon cancer in 2002, repeating near her death the claim that Farrell is Presley's son.
"I didn't think she would lie then," Ryan said.
Farrell was a 23-year-old nightclub singer when his mother dropped her bombshell in 1978. If she hoped to help his music career, it backfired.
Curious crowds made Farrell feel like a sideshow, so he gave up music.
He moved to Jackson, Mich., and today fixes big trucks as owner of Farrell Fleet Service, 1305 Page Ave.
He kept the Elvis story quiet until 2004, when Farrell decided DNA science finally allowed him to find out if his mother was right.
Working with a lawyer, he sent letters sent to Elvis Presley Enterprises asking for DNA testing.
Farrell offered to "keep it under the rug" and he offered to sign away any claim to money. He was mostly ignored.
"I've pretty much given up on any cooperation from the Presley camp," Farrell said.
He set up a blog (http://www.iselvismydad.blogspot.com/) in 2005 to search for clues.
Looking for other illegitimate children of Elvis for DNA comparison seemed a promising idea.
It has not worked out so far because everyone Farrell found was unwilling to be tested or an obvious fraud.
One of his big leads was a bed sheet Elvis slept on. Farrell had the sheet tested, but no usable DNA was recovered.
Touch DNA could make DNA proof much easier to find. The procedure came to public attention in July, when it exonerated the parents of JonBenet Ramsey.
Instead of testing body fluids, touch DNA tests skin cells. We all shed skin cells constantly, and they can be tested decades later.
In other words, anything Elvis wore or touched is suddenly a potential genetic jackpot.
Farrell and his lawyer are contacting collectors to seek permission for touch DNA testing on Elvis memorabilia.
He is also talking to an Indiana woman who has "reasons to believe Elvis may be her dad." If things work out, they will compare DNA to learn if they are siblings.
"If we match, it's kind of hard to say we're not his children," Farrell said.
During his search, Farrell revived his singing career.
Two years ago, he began playing guitar and singing in Jackson-area bars and jam sessions. He favors early rock songs in the style of Carl Perkins.
In June, Farrell won the 2008 Talent Expo at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. For his victory, he is promised a spot as an opening act for a Loretta Lynn concert to be scheduled next year.
Six songs he recorded on a demo disk can be heard online (blog.mlive.com/bradosphere/) if anyone is curious.
Asked what he will do if he is someday proved to be the son of Elvis, Farrell paused as if he never considered it.
"If I found it's true, I would give the results on my blog and that's about it," he said.
"If it's not true, fine. I can close the book and get out of this thing."
— Brad Flory's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Read his blog at blog.mlive.com/bradosphere