She was kidnapped when she was less than two years old, and now her parents have found Melissa Highsmith again – 51 years later.
Melissa Highsmith was thought to have disappeared for a full 51 years, and now apparently her parents have found the 53-year-old daughter again – with the help of a DNA test. “We are over the moon to announce that we found Melissa!!!” Sister Sharon Highsmith wrote in a Facebook post.
As reported by The Washington Post, Highsmith was apparently kidnapped by a babysitter in the US state of Texas when he was about two years old. Her parents found her through an advertisement in a local newspaper. No other details were provided about the kidnapping.
Living under the name Melanie Walden, Highsmith said she was raised by a woman who admitted knowing about the kidnapping. However, the two women have been separated for decades.
Attempts to contact her were considered fraudulent by Heismet
After the babysitter and the baby went missing, a decades-long search began that involved the family and federal authorities as well as the police. However, the hack was a DNA test that the family uploaded to a genealogy portal. Melissa Highsmith’s children were also recorded there, and the samples matched. Then an amateur genealogist helped the family interpret the results. Official confirmation is still pending.
Highsmith herself was unaware of her family’s attempts to find her. The first attempts to contact via Facebook were classified as scam attempts.
This past Saturday, the family reunited with their missing daughter in Fort Worth, Texas – the place where she was kidnapped. Now the woman is apparently planning to change her name back to Melissa Highsmith. Her sisters told The Washington Post that she also wanted to marry her husband a second time so her father could walk her down the aisle.