An astonishing coincidence has led to the discovery of Zephany Nurse, who was stolen from her mother’s arms in Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital as a newborn 17 years ago.
A 50-year-old woman has appeared in court over the baby’s kidnapping.
Celeste and Morne Nurse, the girl’s biological parents, were reunited with her after she was enrolled in the same school as her sister. They lost their three-day-old daughter when she was snatched from her sleeping mother’s arms in her hospital bed in April 1997.
After seeing the pair’s likeness, the biological family invited the girl for coffee and then contacted police.
DNA tests have confirmed the identity of the girl, who has been placed in the care of social workers.
Morne Nurse said his daughter was receiving extensive counseling.
“When she met Cassidy [her sister], there was just an incredible connection and it started from there,” she told CapeTalk radio.
“Her birthday is on April 28. This year we can celebrate it with her. It will be her first birthday with us and we have to plan something very big.”
Celeste and Morné Nurse, who went on to have three more children, have celebrated Zephany’s birthday every year since she disappeared, never giving up hope that their first-born would come back to them someday.
Zephany grew up with a different name, and a different family, never knowing she was not their real daughter.
A relative of the alleged kidnapper told reporters outside the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court: “We grew up with the child, we took care of her.”
The arrested woman and her husband, who live in the Cape Flats, have no other children.
The woman is being charged with kidnapping, fraud and contravening the Children’s Act, in that she fraudulently pretended that she was the biological mother of a child, police said.
Her case was postponed to March 6.