After 5 many years of looking out, it was a 23andMe DNA take a look at that lastly allowed Melissa Highsmith’s dad and mom to find her.
51 years in the past, 22-month-old Melissa Highsmith was kidnapped from her house in Fort Value, Texas by her new babysitter. Now, because of a DNA take a look at, Melissa has been reunited along with her household after 5 many years.
“It is overwhelming and unbelievable to me,” Sharon Highsmith, Melissa’s youthful sister, mentioned, in line with the Fort-Value Star-Telegram.
“We now have labored with the police and have tried to do our personal personal household investigations. For many years, my dad and mom have been chasing leads, hiring their very own labs and investigators. And but these DNA checks, which can be found to anybody, helped us discover our misplaced cherished one.”
Because the Fort-Value Star-Telegram Melissa’s father, Jeffrie, reportedly submitted her DNA to the 23andMe family tree service. The corporate found that Jeffrie had three grandchildren born to a girl named Melanie Brown. When the Highsmith household realized that Brown had the identical birthmark as Melissa, in line with ABC Information 4they knew that they had discovered Melissa.
“They mentioned ‘Dad, she’s alive’ and I began crying,” Jeffrie mentioned. CBS Information. “[A]After 51 years, it’s extremely emotional.”
What foxnews Melissa Highsmith reportedly disappeared in 1971 after her mom, Atla Apantencl, employed a brand new nanny. Apantencl, lately separated from Melissa’s father and dealing as a waitress in Fort Value, positioned an advert in a neighborhood newspaper for a babysitter. She was contacted by a girl who promised to come back to the restaurant for an interview however by no means confirmed up.
Nevertheless, the lady known as Apantencl later and reiterated her curiosity within the job, claiming that she had a big backyard and cared for a lot of different youngsters. Apantencl employed her and agreed to let her decide up 22-month-old Melissa from her roommate whereas Apantencl was at work.
The nanny disappeared with Apantencl’s child, and the Highsmith household started a five-decade-long search to convey Melissa Highsmith house.
“My mother did one of the best she might with the restricted sources she had,” Sharon Highsmith mentioned, in line with the Fort-Value Star-Telegram. “She could not danger getting fired. So, she trusted the particular person she mentioned that she would handle her youngster. For 50 years, my mother has lived with the guilt of shedding Melissa.”
She added: “I am so glad Melissa is again. I am additionally grateful that we now have a vindication for my mom.”
As CBS Information stories, Melissa Highsmith, now 53, was reunited along with her dad and mom and siblings in November 2022 for the primary time in 5 many years.
“It is overwhelming, however on the identical time, it is essentially the most fantastic feeling on this planet,” Melissa mentioned, in line with CBS Information. Including that she had thought it was a rip-off when Jeffrie first reached out to her by way of Fb, she defined: “My dad texted me on [Facebook] Messenger and he mentioned, ‘You already know, I have been on the lookout for my daughter for 51 years.’”
Since then, Melissa’s relations have expressed their utter pleasure at having her again of their lives.
“We had espresso along with her on Thanksgiving evening, and after I checked out her, I knew. She knew it,” mentioned Jeff Highsmith, Melissa’s brother, in line with Fox Information. He added that he “could not take his eyes off” Melissa as a result of she regarded “identical to” her mom.
For her half, Melissa’s mom remains to be overwhelmed by Melissa’s restoration.
“I simply could not imagine it,” he mentioned in line with CBS Information. “I assumed I’d by no means see her once more.”
For now, not a lot is understood about Melissa’s kidnapper. Fox Information stories that Apantencl’s roommate instructed police the kidnapper was carrying white gloves, sun shades and a hat, despite the fact that it was a sizzling August day. Nevertheless, Melissa implied that her kidnapper had raised her after taking her away in 1971.
“I requested the one that raised me, ‘Is there one thing you might want to inform me?’ and it was confirmed that she knew that I used to be child Melissa, in order that made it actual,” Melissa defined to CBS Information.
Though the story remains to be unfolding, Melissa Highsmith is delighted to be reunited along with her delivery household. She even plans to vary her identify again from Melanie to Melissa.
“My coronary heart proper now’s full and overflowing with a lot emotion,” he instructed CBS Information. “I’m very very glad”.
After studying about Melissa Highsmith, see how investigators used a tiny DNA pattern to resolve the 1989 homicide of a 14-year-old lady. Stephanie Isaacson. Or learn the way police had been ready to make use of DNA to prosecute Roberto Juan Lanoue with the 1982 homicide of five-year-old Anne Pham.