The American Melissa Highsmith was a one-year-old baby when in 1971 she was kidnapped by her nanny in Fort Worth (Texas). Now, thanks to the insistence of her biological family, she has been able to reunite with her parents, who never stopped looking for her. The woman lives near Charleston (South Carolina), 1,800 kilometers from Fort Worth.
The reunion took place last Saturday, according to a family statement, collected by the local press. Melissa was reunited with her mother, her father and two of her four siblings at a Fort Worth church. One of her sisters lives in Spain and plans to travel to the US for Christmas to meet her.
Highsmith was able to be located thanks to an anonymous tip that a Charleston woman could be the kidnapped girl. Upon contact with her, a birthmark of hers confirmed her biological family's suspicions, which were confirmed by a DNA test.
The entire search process was carried out without the involvement of the police and was only possible due to the tenacity of her relatives who, without exception, celebrated Melissa's birthday party every year in November and reactivated a Facebook page created for this purpose. to locate the woman.
In 1971, Melissa's mother, Alta Apatenco, placed an ad in a local Fort Worth newspaper to find a babysitter so she could go to work. The baby and the nanny disappeared without a trace, as Apatenco explained at the time, that she became suspected of having killed her daughter and made her body disappear.
Half a century later, Melissa has appeared. "Never give up" and "pursue all leads," the Highsmith family statement reads, making no reference to the nanny or the family where the missing girl was raised.