KELOLAND Investigates follow-up: once strangers, now family


In April, our KELOLAND News investigation into the “Tale of Two Possible Fathers,” brought you the story of B.J. Olson’s lifelong quest to discover his paternity.

Our investigation brought into question a 1997 blood test that new DNA evidence refutes.

Even though Olson believes the accuracy of today’s testing, the family of his biological father rejected him.

At least all but one member who had something eerily similar happen to her. Angela Kennecke picks up the story from there in KELOLAND Investigates update.

“Instantly I felt a connection,” B.J. Olson said.

“I just really like the guy,” Joanna Salmon laughs.

Joanna Salmon may be B.J. Olson’s aunt, but this is only one of a handful of times that they’ve been together since finding each other last spring.

“We sat and just chatted for a couple of hours. It was so interesting how our stories were very similar,” Olson said.

Salmon didn’t find out until she was 37, that the woman she believed was her sister was actually her mother.

She also discovered her biological father was Harold Jacobson.

“I guess it’s the betrayal.  My whole family knew, except me, I think that hurt more than anything, that everybody knew except me,” Salmon said.

DNA tests linked Salmon to B.J. Olson. According to, she is Olson’s aunt on his father’s side. Olson has spent nearly 40 years not knowing his paternity.

“I figured out who my dad was. But I haven’t figured out who my dad was,” Olson said.

Since our investigation, the woman who Olson believes is his half-sister dropped her lawsuit against him.

She had filed it for invasion of privacy, after Olson contacted her with the news that he believed they shared a father.

Angela Kennecke: Do you think you’ll ever have a relationship with the woman you believe is your half-sister?

Olson: You know, the way it looks, probably not.

Olson and Salmon share not only a bond of blood, but also of being outsiders to a family they never knew.

“Nobody realizes how hard that is to be rejected, by people who should love you. That is really, really hard and then your whole life is turned upside down,” Salmon said.

Finding each other is helping them both heal.

“I believe all things happens for a reason and maybe this is the time in my life I needed you the most,” Olson tells Salmon and the two hug.

Olson’s story will soon be featured nationally on an upcoming episode of Investigates TV, on lab errors and paternity testing.

He also wants to write a book about his experiences and he’s working with lawmakers in South Dakota to remove the statute of limitations when it comes to paternity, so his birth certificate can include the name of his biological father.

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