Melanie Mertzel was 23 years old when a woman visited her parents' restaurant and asked: "Are you adopted?"
The woman didn't understand why Mertzel didn't recognise her, leading her to make – and voice – that assumption.
Mertzel lied, telling the woman, "No."
"I don't go around saying that information," Mertzel told 60 Minutes in 2020. "Then, a week or two later, she came in with a picture of Ellen."
The photo of Ellen Carbone looked eerily similar to Melanie Mertzel. She remembers her boyfriend being astounded, saying "That's you," to which she responded, "That is not me."
"Don't tell me who I am. I know who I am," she remembers saying.
But she was intrigued by this near-identical girl in the photo. The woman passed on Carbone's details, for her to contact if she wished.