A newborn was kidnapped from a Cape Town hospital in 1997 but her parents never gave up hope and now, 17 years later, they have found her.
The family had always celebrated their missing daughter’s birthday on April 28, and following her remarkable discovery, the girl’s biological family is planning a festive celebration for her first birthday with them.
“We have to plan something very big,” the girl’s aunt told South Africa’s Cape Talk radio station after it reported that DNA tests confirmed she was the child kidnapped from the Groote Schuur Hospital.
A 50-year-old woman was arrested and appeared in court Friday on charges of kidnapping and fraudulently pretending to be the child’s biological mother, police spokesman Andre Traut said. The woman will again appear in court on March 6, after she has gone through an identity parade, according to the South African Press Association.
The girl, who turns 18 in April, was raised by the arrested woman and her husband as their only child. She was living just a couple miles (kilometers) from her biological parents but, as the Cape Argus newspaper reports, the amazing discovery happened by chance when she became friends with her younger biological sister, when they attended the same school.
In her final year of high school, friends told her about a new student who had an uncanny resemblance to her, her biological aunt said. The two girls met and bonded instantly, despite the four-year age difference.
“There was just an incredible connection,” her aunt told the radio station.
The younger daughter told her parents about her new friend who looked just like her. Still hopeful, the family invited the girl to their home for coffee, the Cape Argus reported. After seeing her, the father immediately contacted the police, who revived their investigation into the kidnapping, the newspaper reported.
The police found that the couple claiming to be the teenager’s parents could not prove she was their biological daughter, and DNA tests were carried out, the Cape Argus reported.