Heathfield name same as dead baby

By John R. Ellement
Globe Staff / June 30, 2010

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David Heathfield, an Ontario resident, said yesterday that the alleged Russian spy known as Donald Heathfield stole the identity of his younger brother who died when he was 6 weeks old.

“When we first heard about it, we thought it was a joke,’’ David Heathfield said. “Then it was a shock to us. How can somebody get away using our family name as an alias for so long and not be detected?’’

He said his mother, Shirley, is distressed by the discovery that the child she lost to crib death has had his name stolen.

David Heathfield, 51, said he has reviewed the FBI affidavit that includes details of a Canadian birth certificate authorities found stashed in a Cambridge safe-deposit box by the alleged spy. The name on the document was Donald Howard Graham Heathfield.

David Heathfield said his mother told him that she gave birth to Donald on Feb. 4, 1963, while the FBI said the document listed the same day, Feb. 4, but gave the birth year as 1962.

Heathfield said his mother’s memory has been slipping of late. He also noted that all of the other details match with those of his brother. The record found with the alleged spies lists Howard as Donald Heathfield’s father and Shirley Graham Heathfield as the mother. It also notes that Donald Heathfield was born in Montreal, which is where David’s brother was born and died.

Heathfield wants the American government to move as quickly as possible to take the Heathfield name off any documents involving the accused spy.

“We don’t need to be held up at the border just because our last name is Heathfield, and they think we are spies,’’ he said. “He has no connection to the Heathfield clan.’’

John Ellement can be reached at

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