Zella Jackson Price, the woman who claims her baby was snatched from her after giving birth 50 years ago, will be the feature story in tonight’s ABC 20/20 episode. In a preview with ABC 20/20, Deborah Roberts says they will be going behind the scenes of the tearful reunion that captured the nation’s attention earlier this year when news broke that gospel singer Zella Jackson Price had been reunited with her biological daughter, Melanie Diane Gilmore.
Inquisitr reported earlier that in 1965, Zella Jackson Price’s baby may have been stolen at Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis. The 26-year-old mother, who arrived at the hospital alone at just six months pregnant, stated that hours after giving birth at the only African-American hospital in town, Jackson-Price was told by a nurse that her baby, whom she had already named Diane, had died. A devastated Jackson-Price never saw the baby’s body and was never issued a certificate of death in the case. For years, she had to deal with the traumatic memory that she never got the chance to bring her baby home. She ended up moving on with her life, eventually marrying another man and giving birth to several other children, CBS News reported.
In September of 2014, Zella received a strange message on Facebook by Mahiska Jackson, a person who claimed that she believed that Zella was her grandmother. It is believed that Diane’s adoptive parents told her the name of her birth mother, giving twins Mahiska and Melika Jackson the chance to find her on Facebook. A DNA test was able to confirm that Diane Gilmore was definitely her biological daughter.
Now, St. Louis, Missouri’s former Homer G. Phillips Hospital is under fire after an attorney has suggested that some of the nurses were part of a baby-selling ring back in the 1960s. Zella Jackson-Price had filed suit to have the adoption records for Diane Gilmore opened.
ABC 20/20 is going to reveal their findings in the case after launching their own investigation, which they say shows that hospital paperwork indicates that the baby was abandoned. That finding is in line with the story that Diane Gilmore’s foster mother told years earlier. Some former nurses of the hospital have stated that they don’t believe the allegations. ABC News describes what U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan has stated.
“Documents from 1965 also showed that authorities reached out to Price, even visiting the home address she gave, and were told she moved and didn’t leave a forwarding address. Social workers called, wrote and visited relatives, according to records, but could not reach Price. The social workers noted that Price’s grandmother and uncle ‘are either unable or unwilling to give any information regarding Mrs. Jackson’s whereabouts.'”
Richard Callahan also stated in August of this year that they have no evidence that could confirm these allegations. In fact, he believes the story is completely untrue. In a press conference he confirmed his findings.
“We can say with complete certainty there [is] no truth to these allegations and our investigation is now closed.”
Is it true that Zella Jackson Price was contacted several times decades earlier about her baby? And is it true that she abandoned her baby at the hospital, leaving her for someone else to care for? To find out, please watch the latest ABC 20/20 tonight and let us know what you think. Below you’ll find the video that shows the moment Diane’s family surprised her with the news that they had found her real mother.
As far back as the 1950s, baby-selling rings and illegal adoption have been the subject of many books and true-story movies. In one case from the 1970s, a woman went into the hospital to give birth to her baby, but was later told the baby died. For years, she suspected that something was weird about that night. All she could remember was a nurse carrying the baby out of the room. The case broke wide open after that same nurse was arrested for killing a pregnant woman and cutting the baby from her womb. When they investigated the nurse’s apartment, they found the little girl that had been stolen from the hospital years earlier.
[Image via Zella Jackson Price/Facebook]