South African Woman Accused Of Kidnapping Baby Zephany Nurse Found Guilty

The woman accused of kidnapping baby Zephany from the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town 19 years ago has now been found guilty. While there is still much emotional pain for the families on both side of the court case, justice has now been served.

The Inquisitr reported on the coincidence that found Zephany Nurse, a baby stolen from her mother’s hospital bedside on April 30, 1997. Morne and Celeste Nurse never gave up hope of finding their lost daughter, and celebrate they her birthday on April 27 each year. By chance, their baby Zephany Nurse was indeed found, many years later.

It turned out Zephany’s biological sister, 13-year-old Cassidy, started Grade 8 at the same school in Cape Town attended by the then 17-year-old Zephany. Other children at the school immediately noticed the strong resemblance between the two girls and ironically, the pair became close friends, unaware of their biological connection.

Reportedly the Nurse family invited the girl to their home and also noticed the strong resemblance between the two girls. DNA tests were then run, which proved that the 17-year-old girl was, indeed, their stolen daughter Zephany.

It was a trying time for the family, as obviously Zephany Nurse had previously only known the parents that brought her up from a baby, and initially she had only limited contact with her biological parents. As reported by The Inquisitr, the whole family still has a long, hard road to follow. At that time, the family was particularly concerned about how the matter would affect all the children involved.

Zephany was at that time still under the care of the Western Cape social services department, while experiencing limited interaction with her biological family.

Feelings were still very mixed for Zephany before the court proceedings began, with the teenager reportedly wishing her kidnapper good luck and telling her she loved her.

According to Times Live, while the accused kidnapper cannot be identified, in order to protect the identity which Zephany Nurse still currently holds, the 51-year-old Lavender Hill woman has now been found guilty in the Western Cape High Court of kidnapping Zephany Nurse, as well as fraud and Contravention of the Children’s Act.

According to Judge President John Hlophe, the evidence against the accused was overwhelming, especially referring to the evidence of Shireen Piet, a Mitchell’s Plain woman, who told the court she had a conversation with the accused at the Groote Schuur Hospital on the day baby Zephany was snatched.

According to Piet, the accused picked up her own baby, and she turned her back to use the public telephone in the hospital ward. When she turned and saw her baby in the arms of the accused, the woman claimed the child had been crying. However Piet said there were no signs her baby had cried.

Reportedly, when Piet heard about baby Zephany’s kidnapping, she realized that could have been her own child. In court, Piet identified the accused kidnapper from a photo taken last year and again in a police identity parade.

According to Judge Hlophe, the DNA tests, along with the evidence given by the biological parents, Morne and Celeste Nurse, confirmed his findings.

Reportedly, the accused had outlined her numerous attempts to conceive a baby, with many miscarriages, ending with her desperate need to adopt a child.

As reported by the Independent Online, the judge described the accused’s version of the story, that she paid a woman named Sylvia R3,000 ($197) for a fertility treatment or an adoption, as being “a fairy tale,” adding that “One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that one does not buy babies in South Africa.”

Judge Hlophe refused to extend bail, meaning the accused will remain behind bars until sentencing proceedings start on May 30 this year.

As for the accused, according to a report by the Independent Online, the woman said she doesn’t regret taking baby Zephany Nurse from her mother and that she was “a joy” for her.

“I thank the Lord for the 17 years and 10 months I had with her.”

[Photo Western Cape High Court via Flickr by alcuin lai cropped and resized/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]