A DNA test has allowed a Texas woman to be reunited with her family 51 years after being kidnapped by her nanny. Melissa Highsmith, 53, was abducted from the woman who was supposed to be caring for her in Fort Worth in 1971, when she was just 22 months old.
melissa she never knew she was kidnapped until her birth family He recently found her, according to a press release issued on behalf of the family.
Years of searching by the family have turned up no clues as to his whereabouts, until DNA samples sent to a genealogy company produced a match.
The woman and her parents met for the first time on November 26. On Facebook, the family said they had carried out “more official and legal DNA tests” and were awaiting “official confirmation”.
In August 1971, Melissa’s mother, Alta Apantenco, was working as a waitress and needed a babysitter, so she placed an ad in a local newspaper. Apantenco hired a woman willing to work without meeting her in person.
While Apantenco was at work, her roommate turned Melissa over to a babysitter who allegedly kidnapped her and never came back. According to the Apantenco family she faced years of allegations that she possibly killed her daughter and covered up the crime.
Loved ones have been searching for Melissa for years, but they never gave up. In recent years, they have even created a Facebook page called “Looking for Melissa”.
The Highsmith family tracked Melissa using Ancestry and 23andMe (genealogy companies) after a referral from a genealogist. The family said her mother was hesitant as she had conducted DNA tests on six different women over the years and all came back negative.
“After 51 years, she didn’t want to take another DNA test. She was tired, hurt and guilty of taking it all these years,” said Victoria Highsmith, Melissa’s sister. “I am grateful that we convinced him to agree to send her DNA… It is thanks to this, and my father’s introduction, that we were able to find Melissa.”
Victoria said she found Melissa not through her own DNA sample but through her children’s DNA and that the match returned quickly after both parents sent in their samples.
“In three weeks we found my sister. It was like, ‘Boom, boom, boom,’ we found her.” said Victoria Highsmith.
Victoria also said she is very happy with it her mother can now feel vindicated after being charged by the police when she had nothing to do with Melissa’s disappearance.
“She carried this pain and guilt for 51 years and I watched her cry for three days of joy. I have never seen my mother so happy,” said Victoria Highsmith.
Melissa lived in Texas most of her life and never knew she was kidnapped, wrote his family in posts on a Facebook page.
Melissa said she didn’t have a good life and ran away from home at the age of 15. She also confirmed that she will change her name from Melanie back to the one her birth mother gave her.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.