SA mesmerised by baby snatching case

2015-03-06 17:04

Johannesburg – A Cape Town mother was dozing in her hospital bed when her newborn daughter was kidnapped by a woman disguised as a nurse. Through a twist of fate, she was reunited with her daughter nearly 18 years later in a case that has mesmerised South Africa.

A woman charged with stealing a newborn baby from its mother's arms 17 years ago was granted bail on Friday.

The girl, who is now nearing her 18th birthday, was taken from a Cape Town hospital in 1997 while her biological mother was recovering from a caesarean section.

She reconnected with her biological family after accidentally making friends with her birth sister at school and people started noticing the striking similarity between them.

A DNA test revealed that the teen was the daughter of the parents whose daughter was taken, prompting authorities to remove her from her adoptive parents and open a case against the 50-year-old "foster" mother.

The girl is currently living under the supervision of a social worker and maintains contact with her biological family and the adoptive father. The court has barred the adoptive mother from contacting her.

"[We] will not rush this reunification, as it is of a sensitive nature," the department in charge of the process said in a statement.

"Short planned visits and interaction sessions took place this weekend between the biological family and the teen. These are designed to begin the process of creating a comfortable environment for the family to begin bonding," it added.

The case - which includes charges of kidnapping, fraud and contravention of child protection legislation - is likely to be heard in about five months, once police have finalised their investigation.

The suspect could face anything from a non-custodial sentence to a prison term of up to 17 years. Her lawyer, Reaz Khan, told dpa he was hoping for an out-of-court settlement due to mitigating personal circumstances. He declined to provide further details.

Media reports have said the woman had suffered a stillbirth shortly before abducting the girl.

The police spokesperson did not want to comment on whether the adoptive father was aware she was not his biological child, but a spokesperson for the National Prosecution Authority confirmed that he does not face charges.

The case has mesmerised South Africa and there has been a public outpouring of support for the biological parents, who reportedly never gave up the hope of finding their daughter - staging a birthday party for her every year.

"I told her, 'From the first day I saw you for the first time, I knew you were my daughter'," her birth father told the broadcaster eNCA.

"It feels like I'm living a dream," said the mother. "I gave her a hug and she hugged me, but it felt different from when I hug my [three younger] other kids," she described their first encounter, explaining that "there is still a lot to process and it hurts."

  • Justice Jw Wisan - 2015-03-06 17:38

    Don't you want to blame the nurses??

  • East T John - 2015-03-06 17:48

    The foster mother deserve to rot in jail

  • Stephen Sage Wiseman - 2015-03-06 17:57

    Speak for yourself news24. You report news not make it.

  • Louis Van Der Vyver - 2015-03-06 18:22

    I realy dont give a ... not mesmorised on this side

      Carina Welman - 2015-03-06 18:28

      Really? You're a chop.

      Christopher Hart - 2015-03-09 23:05

      you are a douche, hope u don't have kids

      Christopher Hart - 2015-03-09 23:05

      you are a douche, hope u don't have kids

  • Anthoula Joshua - 2015-03-06 18:31

    Does the 17 almost 18 year old child not have a say? Yes I can not imagine the pain of wondering for 17 years where your child is. I would go insane. For 17 years though she loved that woman. For 17 years it was mom to her. Imagine what she is going through.

      Chrissie Botha - 2015-03-06 18:45

      I agree.

  • Lee Pope - 2015-03-06 18:33

    Lol typical news 24 and idiot journalist seeking fame by means of sensulising news. Decide if you are a news writer or a story teller

  • Phelamanga - 2015-03-06 18:40

    It is mesmerizing, and possibly over-sensationalized, but it takes our attention away from the real issues affecting us every day to such an extent that we are too distracted to realise that things affecting us are happening.

  • Albert Opperman - 2015-03-06 18:49

    What the hell are these pop up adds when you are trying to read a news bulletin? Seriously pissing me off!!!!!!!

  • Caswell Bjalane - 2015-03-06 18:52

    baby thieves must rot in hell not in prisons

  • Caswell Bjalane - 2015-03-06 19:02

    Baby thieves must rot in hell and not in prison.

  • Edmond Kopa - 2015-03-06 19:38

    Bloody liar who lies to herself

  • dawn.kilian - 2015-03-06 21:07

    So nice for her to meet her daughter !! The kidnapper should be locked up

  • Lungie Precious Mosala - 2015-03-07 09:49

    Atleast she raised her and not kill her some people are just arrogant!

  • Gift Itumeleng - 2015-03-08 13:30

    She must rot in jail cruel kidnapper imagine lady gave birth by ceaserian very cruel whos problem is that when she cant gave birth

  • Gift Itumeleng - 2015-03-08 13:31

    Damn kidnapper must go for life sentence

  • Jenny Anderson - 2015-03-09 08:15

    There is NO such thing as COINDENCE

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