A baby girl was stolen 17 years ago from her sleeping mother’s arms at Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital. She was just three days old at the time. Now, due to an amazing coincidence, Zephany Nurse has finally been found.
Morne and Celeste Nurse never gave up hope of finding their lost daughter. Back in 2010, the Weekend Argus newspaper interviewed Zephany’s father and he said at the time they would never give up hope of finding their daughter. The family has apparently celebrated her birthday each year on April 27. This year they will be able to celebrate with her in person.
— Timothy Spira (@timspira) February 28, 2015
News24 reports that it was an incredible coincidence that led to Zephany’s discovery. It turned out her biological sister, Cassidy, 13, started Grade 8 at the same school the 17-year-old attended in Cape Town.
Other children at the school immediately noted the resemblance between the two girls. In fact, the two (unknown to them at that stage) biological sisters became close friends. The family invited the 17-year-old over to their home for coffee and immediately saw the amazing resemblance between the girls for themselves.
The family decided to call the police and a DNA test was run, which confirmed the girl’s identity. It was then easy to track down the girl’s supposed parents, and a 50-year-old woman was arrested at her home in Lavender Hill. She was set to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday this week.
Reportedly, the woman who kidnapped Zephany back in April 1997 and her husband have no other children and had only registered the baby’s birth six months after the kidnapping.
Times Live notes that family members (pictured above) could hardly contain their excitement at the fact that the lost baby has been found. An aunt, who preferred not to be named, said they always knew she was alive.
“She was a beautiful baby, I will never forget her face.”
According to police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut, Zephany is for the time being in the care of the Western Cape social services department. He said further that the kidnapper had been arrested and would face charges of kidnapping, fraud, and contravening the Children’s Act as she “fraudulently pretended that she was the biological mother” of the stolen baby.
“A 50-year-old female has been arrested this morning following an intensive investigation by the Western Cape Hawks into a crime which was perpetrated on [April 30, 1997] where a baby girl was kidnapped from Groote Schuur Hospital.”
It will apparently be a long, hard road for the family to deal with their intense feelings, especially for Zephany, who has bonded with her kidnapper, believing her to be her mother.
According to psychotherapist Coletta Canale, everyone involved will need professional help.
“The young lady may have had a bond with the ‘kidnapper’. [Zephany] may have to grapple with intense feelings.”
In the meantime, Zephany’s biological and extended family in Cape Town are celebrating, with one member of the family, Gavin Carolus, posting a poignant status update on Facebook.
“Today is our day as a family when we will be meeting our lost child.”
The video below is an interview with Zephany’s aunt, Chantelle Nurse, by the Cape Talk radio station in Cape Town, speaking of the amazing bond that has immediately been made between the two biological sisters and their parents.
Update at March 3, 2015: Cape Town Girl Kidnapped 17 Years Ago Having Limited Interaction with Biological Family
[Photo: Groote Schuur Hospital Cape Town CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 mallix]