Detective Claiborne Hamilton and Sgt. Chris Walker (photo: Clement Britt / Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Sgt. Chris Walker, a police officer in Petersburg, Va., grew up without ever meeting his biological father – until he suddenly discovered his own co-worker fit the description.
Walker’s mother was only 15 when she became pregnant. She was separated from her husband, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. After the affair, she returned to her husband and no longer communicated with the baby’s father while Walker’s grandmother raised him.
One day, an officer named Claiborne Hamilton, a Richmond police veteran, came to work as a detective at the Petersburg Bureau of Police – the same department where Walker was employed.
Detective Hamilton’s name rang familiar. It was very similar to the name of Walker’s biological father: Clay Hamilton.
Officer Walker approached Hamilton’s desk and asked a series of questions. He found that the detective was 53-years-old, grew up in Richmond and dated a young woman named Billie Joe.
Walker, 37, called his mother to follow up on his suspicions. She told him his father’s name was Clayton, not Claiborne. But he didn’t give up.
He asked her if she knew a Billie Joe Walker.
“There was a pause on the phone, and she said, ‘That’s your dad,’” Walker told the Times-Dispatch, referring to Hamilton.
Walker’s mother had been nicknamed Billie Joe after Bobbie Gentry’s 1967 song “Ode to Billie Joe.”
He called Hamilton and said, “I think you’re my father.”
“It shocked me, but I always believed that there may have been a possibility at the time,” Hamilton said. “When I first talked to him on the phone, I cried.”
The men took a paternity test, and the results came back earlier this month. They confirmed that the two officers – who had never even met – were father and son.
Even though they led separate lives, Hamilton and Walker both enlisted in the U.S. military and chose careers at urban police departments.
They are now spending time together, and learning more about each other’s families.
“I feel like we’ve got a lot of time that we’ve missed. Of course you can’t ever make up for lost time. We’re going to do what we can to make it up,” Hamilton said.
Walker told the newspaper he believes it was all part of a greater plan.
“There’s no hard feelings from me because I knew he did everything he could to locate me. He’s my dad, and I love him, and I look forward to a lot of years with him,” Walker said. “God works in mysterious ways.”