A girl who was kidnapped at 22 months outdated was reunited together with her organic household after 51 years aside.
Melissa Highsmith, 53, was kidnapped from her residence in Fort Value, Texas, in August 1971, by a girl posing as a babysitter. Melissa’s mom, Alta Apatenco, had positioned an advert within the native newspaper, looking for childcare. On the time, Alta was a single mom, working in a restaurant.
She reported that the kidnapper instructed her, “‘, I actually love youngsters and I’ve bought this big yard and the youngsters like to play on the market,’ and I used to be determined, I wanted a babysitter as a result of I used to be supporting myself.”
Melissa Highsmith was reunited together with her household in November 2022, after 51 years of separation.
Melissa’s sister, Sharon Highsmith, acknowledged, “My mother did the perfect she might with the restricted sources she had. She could not danger getting fired. So, she trusted the one that mentioned they’d take care of her baby. For 50 years, my mother has lived with the guilt of dropping Melissa. She’s additionally lived with group and nationwide accusations that she damage or killed her personal child.”
“I am so glad we’ve got Melissa again,” Sharon continued. “I am additionally grateful we’ve got vindication for my mother.”
Melissa was raised beneath the pretend identify “Melanie,” by the identical lady who kidnapped her. She reported, “I assumed she was my actual mother however I assumed she regretted having me. There was no closeness… no love. She instructed me all my life I used to be mind broken… my mom was emotionally abusive and my stepfather was sexually abusive.”
The felony statute of limitations expired when Melissa turned 18. But she isn’t looking for retribution for her kidnapping, stating “I do not need her to go to jail I simply need her to be held accountable and to say, ‘I am sorry.’”
Melissa additionally reported that though she’s estranged from the lady who raised her, when confronted, the lady admitted to figuring out that she was the kidnapped baby the police had been looking for.
“That simply made it actual,” she defined.
The Highsmith household made a joyous Fb put up on November 27, 2022, exclaiming, “We’re past thrilled to announce that WE FOUND MELISSA!”
“We adopted a 23 & Me household DNA match that led us to her. Our discovering Melissa was purely due to DNA, not due to any police [or] FBI involvement, podcast involvement, and even our household’s personal personal investigations or speculations. DNA WINS THIS SEARCH!” The household introduced through a Fb put up.
The Fb put up continued, detailing the Highsmith’s household reunion with their long-lost daughter and sibling. “Mother and Dad met Mel for the primary time yesterday after 51 years and did additional official and authorized DNA testing, though within the second we noticed her footage, came upon about her birthmark, and realized her ‘birthday’ is so near our Melissa, WE KNEW past a shadow of a doubt that this was OUR GIRL.”
The household supplied their gratitude to “our genealogist fanatic and advocate, Lisa Jo Schiele, for her steerage in serving to us perceive the DNA outcomes and for main us down the trail that introduced us to discovering our very personal Melissa Suzanne Highsmith, who has been residing in Fort Value for many of her life!”
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“The enjoyment is palpable amongst all relations, and we invite you to have fun and rejoice with us,” the Fb put up ended. As for Melissa, she reported that “I’m nonetheless indignant however I’m going to concentrate on the happiness that’s to come back, not the ache that I left.”
Alexandra Blogier is a author on YourTango’s information and leisure group. She covers superstar gossip, popular culture evaluation and all issues to do with the leisure trade.