B-148700, JUL. 6, 1965

B-148700: Jul 6, 1965

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ALLEN AND RUSSELL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 22. THE PARENTS WERE ADVISED THAT OUR OFFICE HAD BEEN NOTIFIED THAT KENT OSBORNE WILLIAMS WAS SURVIVED BY AN ILLEGITIMATE CHILD WHOSE RIGHTS. THEY WERE ALSO ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY THAT THEIR SON MAY HAVE BEEN SURVIVED BY A SECOND ILLEGITIMATE CHILD (UNBORN AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH). MISS WHITNEY'S ADDRESS IS SHOWN AS 1317 BAYARD STREET. MISS HILL'S ADDRESS IS SHOWN AS 2424 WEST LAFAYETTE AVENUE. ALLEGING THAT CHERYL IS THE MINOR DAUGHTER OF KENT OSBORNE WILLIAMS. WHO IS NAMED AS THE FATHER ON THE CHILD'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE. SHE WAS NOTIFIED UNDER DATE OF JUNE 11. THAT ON THE BASIS OF THE PRESENT RECORD THERE IS TOO MUCH DOUBT AS TO THE RIGHTFUL BENEFICIARY OR BENEFICIARIES TO PERMIT OUR OFFICE TO MAKE ANY SETTLEMENT OF DEATH GRATUITY.

B-148700, JUL. 6, 1965

TO BROWN, ALLEN AND RUSSELL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 22, 1965, ENCLOSING A POWER OF ATTORNEY FROM OSBORNE J. WILLIAMS AND CHARLOTTE E. WILLIAMS FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR CLAIM FOR SIX-MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY IN THE CASE OF THEIR SON, KENT OSBORNE WILLIAMS, WHO DIED NOVEMBER 23, 1961, WHILE IN AN ACTIVE-DUTY STATUS AS AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE UNITED STATES NAVY. YOU INQUIRE AS TO THE CURRENT STATUS OF THE CLAIM FILED BY MR. AND MRS. WILLIAMS AND REQUEST INFORMATION SHOWING THE STEPS NECESSARY UNDER OUR PROCEDURE TO BRING THE MATTER TO A CONCLUSION.

BY SETTLEMENT DATED JUNE 11, 1962, THE PARENTS WERE ADVISED THAT OUR OFFICE HAD BEEN NOTIFIED THAT KENT OSBORNE WILLIAMS WAS SURVIVED BY AN ILLEGITIMATE CHILD WHOSE RIGHTS, IF SUCH RELATIONSHIP SHOULD BE ESTABLISHED, WOULD TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER THE RIGHTS OF THE PARENTS UNDER 10 U.S.C. 1477. THEY WERE ALSO ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY THAT THEIR SON MAY HAVE BEEN SURVIVED BY A SECOND ILLEGITIMATE CHILD (UNBORN AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH), BY ANOTHER WOMAN. SINCE THAT TIME OUR OFFICE HAS BEEN FURNISHED NO ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE WHICH WOULD ESTABLISH OR REFUTE THE CLAIMS OF JACQUELINE WHITNEY AND CAROLLTON HILL, THE MOTHERS OF THE TWO ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN IN QUESTION. MISS WHITNEY'S ADDRESS IS SHOWN AS 1317 BAYARD STREET, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, AND MISS HILL'S ADDRESS IS SHOWN AS 2424 WEST LAFAYETTE AVENUE, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND.

MISS WHITNEY FILED A CLAIM FOR THE SIX-MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY ON BEHALF OF HER CHILD, CHERYL WHITNEY, ALLEGING THAT CHERYL IS THE MINOR DAUGHTER OF KENT OSBORNE WILLIAMS, WHO IS NAMED AS THE FATHER ON THE CHILD'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE. SHE WAS NOTIFIED UNDER DATE OF JUNE 11, 1962, THAT ON THE BASIS OF THE PRESENT RECORD THERE IS TOO MUCH DOUBT AS TO THE RIGHTFUL BENEFICIARY OR BENEFICIARIES TO PERMIT OUR OFFICE TO MAKE ANY SETTLEMENT OF DEATH GRATUITY, BUT THAT IF THE ALLEGED RELATIONSHIP OF CHERYL AND THE OTHER ILLEGITIMATE CHILD TO THE DECEDENT COULD BE ESTABLISHED BY DETERMINATION OF THE PROPER AUTHORITY, EACH CHILD WOULD SHARE EQUALLY IN THE DEATH GRATUITY PAYMENT.

TO DATE NO CLAIM HAS BEEN RECEIVED FROM CARROLLTON HILL. HOWEVER, THE ABSENCE OF A CLAIM DOES NOT, AT THIS TIME, DESTROY ANY RIGHT TO THE DEATH GRATUITY PAYMENT, WHICH MAY HAVE VESTED IN HER CHILD AT BIRTH IF SUCH CHILD ACTUALLY IS THE ILLEGITIMATE CHILD OF KENT OSBORNE WILLIAMS AND SUCH RELATIONSHIP CAN BE PROPERLY ESTABLISHED AS PROVIDED IN 10 U.S.C. 1477.

THE SOLE QUESTION WHICH MUST BE RESOLVED IN THIS CASE CONCERNS THE PATERNITY OF THE TWO ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN WHO ALLEGEDLY WERE FATHERED BY KENT OSBORNE WILLIAMS. A DETERMINATION OF SUCH PATERNITY BY A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION WOULD CONSTITUTE SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE UPON WHICH TO BASE A SETTLEMENT ALLOWING THE GRATUITY TO THE SURVIVOR HIGHEST ON THE ELIGIBLE LIST SPECIFIED IN 10 U.S.C. 1477 AND GIVE THE GOVERNMENT A GOOD ACQUITTANCE. SEE STAMER V. UNITED STATES, 148 CT.CL. 482 (1960). IN THE ABSENCE OF A JUDICIAL DETERMINATION OF PATERNITY, THERE MAY BE FURNISHED CLEARLY CONVINCING EVIDENCE WHICH WOULD ESTABLISH THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE DECEDENT TO EITHER OR EACH OF THE TWO CHILDREN AND ESTABLISH WHETHER OR NOT HE ACKNOWLEDGED IN WRITING BEFORE HIS DEATH THE FATHERHOOD OF EITHER OR EACH CHILD.