A profile published Monday of 2nd Congressional District GOP candidate John Swallow used a quote by the candidate made in 2002 that said his biological father died "in a stupid accident" while the family was living in St. George, leading his family to move to Alaska to stay with relatives for three years before returning to Utah.
Later, his mother married Richard Swallow, who adopted the family's six children and Swallow took his new father's name.
It is now unclear whether Swallow's biological father did die in that manner. After the story ran this week, the Deseret Morning News received an e-mail from a reader of the story, questioning whether the man died or, in fact, just left the family and disappeared.
Swallow says the matter is sensitive to his mother, who is still living, and other family members. He says there was nothing shocking or outwardly strange about the family situation back then.
There has been no contact with his biological father since the family left St. George, he said. "It is something that happened to my family more than 30 years ago. As a family, we do believe (his biological father) was killed in an accident — that's how we grew up." And accordingly, Swallow says he did not purposely mislead the newspaper or voters. Swallow declined to be more specific.
Swallow said what happened then has no bearing on his candidacy for office today.
A name was provided to the Deseret Morning News. And no Utah death certificate could be found under that name within the approximate time frame when Swallow said his family lost his father and the family moved to Alaska.