A Cape Town girl who was kidnapped 17 years ago from her mother’s arms in hospital, is now having limited interaction with her biological family. The whole family has a long, hard road to follow.
The story was reported on the Inquisitr last week of how Zephany Nurse was snatched from her sleeping mother’s arms three days after birth.
— Times LIVE (@TimesLIVE) February 27, 2015
By sheer coincidence, Zephany’s biological sister Cassidy Nurse recently started attending the same high school as her lost sibling and struck up a friendship with her. Everyone then noticed the striking similarities between the two girls which led to a DNA test proving that Zephany was, indeed, the Nurse family’s lost baby, kidnapped 17 years ago.
Girl reunited with parents 17 years after hospital kidnapping: A newborn was kidnapped from a Cape Town hospital in… http://t.co/JjprVQ8dKh
— OnTheGroundNews.ca (@OTGNCanada) February 27, 2015
According to attorney Heidi van der Meulen, acting as a spokeswoman for the family, Zephany has been having “limited interaction” with her biological family since her identity was revealed last week.
Biological parents allowed to visit Zephany Nurse http://t.co/CZOWxWsEHE
— Eyewitness News (@ewnupdates) March 3, 2015
Apparently Morne and Celeste Nurse do not wish to participate in any interviews and prefer that van der Meulen speaks on their behalf. The attorney explained why in a media statement, saying they were particularly concerned about how matters will affect all the children involved.
Explaining that Zephany is still under the care of the Western Cape social services department, van der Meulen said there had been limited interaction between the family and the girl.
“They are worried about the impact it will have on all their children, not just the eldest.”
“There has been limited interaction with their daughter.”
After Zephany was kidnapped 17 years ago, Morné and Celeste had three other children – Cassidy, Joshua and Mica. While Zephany immediately bonded with Cassidy at school as a friend, it is still a difficult situation, and both families have a long, hard road ahead of them.
The 50-year-old woman who kidnapped the baby girl back in April 1997 was arrested last week and will be appearing in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court again on Friday on charges of kidnapping, fraud, and contravening the Children’s Act.
In the meantime, Social Development MEC Albert Fritz has appealed to everyone involved to act responsibly.
According to Fritz, Zephany (who was given a different name by the family who raised her) is still in touch with her non-biological father and the family she was raised with, but is staying in one of the department’s safe homes under supervision for the time being. There are apparently no plans to rush the process of integration with her biological family.
“Short, planned visits and interaction sessions took place this weekend between the biological family and the teen.”
“These are designed to begin the process of creating a comfortable environment for the family to begin bonding.”
According to SA Breaking News, the woman who kidnapped the baby girl might not have to go to prison, even if convicted of kidnapping Zephany.
Attorney Llewellyn Curlewis told The Times that, “Mitigating factors will have to be considered, especially the fact that the girl was not harmed in the kidnapping.”
While Zephany’s parents were, indeed, harmed psychologically by the kidnapping, it is believed that the still unnamed woman may have experienced a stillbirth, which is “an enormous trauma for mothers.”
“It would be important for mental health professionals to come on board with an assessment for the purpose of a fair trial.”
Update: March 4, 2015: IOL has published a statement from Zephany Nurse thanking everyone for their support.
“I want to say thank you to all the people who supported me through this, for continuously praying and never giving up on looking for me. Under the circumstances, I am doing fine.”
[Image: Celeste Nurse with baby Zephany just before she was kidnapped 17 years ago – screengrab from YouTube video]