A judge on Wednesday reopened the estate of Elvis Presley's father after a woman testified she has DNA proof she is Vernon Presley's daughter and Elvis' half-sister.
The ruling by Probate Court Judge Karen Webster, however, may be a hollow victory for the 46-year-old woman who recently changed her name to Eliza Presley, because there is no money left in the estate and heirship will not be decided by the court.
Eliza Presley, a divorced mother of four who now lives in Washington state, raised some eyebrows in her testimony when she said she obtained Elvis Presley's DNA from an envelope sent to her several months ago by a man named Jessie Presley.
"That's the assumed name of Elvis Presley," said Eliza Presley, whose name until recently had been Alice Elizabeth Tiffin. "He thinks he's Elvis Presley. He licked the envelope that was tested."
She said that DNA, along with samples from a Presley cousin, showed she is not the daughter of Elvis, as she initially thought, but of Vernon.
She testified she would be interested in sharing any money that might be left in the estate, but that her main goal is to be legally declared the daughter of Vernon Presley.
"This is not a bizarre claim out of nowhere," said Eliza, who is represented by attorney Kathleen Caldwell.
Attorney William Bradley Jr., who represents Elvis Presley Enterprises and Lisa Marie Presley-Lockwood, said that over the years there have been a dozen or more people claiming kinship to Elvis, "including a couple of Elvis Jr.'s."
He said money and media attention are common motives in such cases.
"This claim is absolutely without any merit," he said, adding that even if true, the time has long since passed to make a claim on the estate and that a child adopted at birth has no legal standing for inheritance from biological parents.
Eliza Presley's birth mother, former Memphian Florence Sharp Clark of Oregon, said she moved to Texas in 1962 when she learned she was pregnant by another Memphis man and that she gave her daughter up for adoption.
She said she knew Elvis and was often at Graceland, but there was no romantic involvement with him or his father.
Vernon Presley died in 1979 at age 63. Elvis had died two years earlier at age 42.