Families reach agreement in kidnap case

2015-03-07 09:56

The biological parents of a girl kidnapped from a Cape Town hospital 17 years ago have come to an agreement with the family that raised her.

The Centre for Child Law yesterday said the agreement reflected the teenager’s wishes about visits, birthdays, and special occasions and would not be made public.

The girl was kidnapped from Groote Schuur Hospital shortly after her birth while her mother was sleeping, on April 30 1997.

The woman who allegedly took her may not be identified for the protection of the child, who is still regarded as a minor.

According to media reports she had suffered two miscarriages and took the girl as she did not want to return to her husband empty-handed. The woman and her husband raised the child as their own.

She appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court yesterday on a charge of kidnapping, where she was granted R5000 bail and told to return to court on May 29.

The girl was found after her biological parents’ second daughter, born four years after the disappearance, started grade eight at a school in Cape Town this year. Classmates kept telling her a girl in matric looked just like her. The two girls became friends and eventually the younger girl’s father pretended he wanted to meet his daughter’s new friend.

When he saw how similar the girls looked he approached the police. The older girl’s parents could not show them any record of her birth. The biological parents got permission to have DNA tests taken, and confirmed her identity.

While the story has drawn huge public interest, the 17-year-old wanted to live a normal life away from the public eye.

“She now asks that she be allowed to get on with her life, to maintain the relationships with her friends and family she has grown up with and to establish new relationships with her biological family in private,” the centre said.

“She will not be giving any interviews to the media.”

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