UPDATE | Zephany Nurse case: No parole, for now, for woman who raised abducted baby as her own

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The woman accused of kidnapping Zephany Nurse arrives at the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town on 23 February 2016.
The woman accused of kidnapping Zephany Nurse arrives at the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town on 23 February 2016.
PHOTO: Denvor De Wee/Die Burger/Gallo/Getty Images
  • Lavona Solomon will have to wait until July 2023 before being considered for parole, according to the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board.
  • She was sentenced for the kidnapping of infant Zephany Nurse, whom she renamed Miché Solomon.
  • The Department of Correctional Services says the board decided Solomon will have to undergo further assessments and a victim offender dialogue process.

Following a parole hearing, the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board decided it was necessary for Lavona Solomon to undergo further interventions as part of her rehabilitation path.

The Solomon and Nurse families were in attendance after being invited to participate in the parole hearing process, the Department of Correctional Services on Friday. 

The board ensured they were given an opportunity to offer a statement of impact which outlined how the offence might have affected them, a statement of opposition, which might include reasons why an offender should not be placed on parole or a recommendation on possible conditions to be applied when a placement was granted, said department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo.     

"In law, the discretion to grant parole or a further profile, lies with the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board [except in cases involving lifers]," he added.

"Consequently, a decision was taken, affirming that Lavona Solomon will need to undergo further assessments by specialists under the employ of correctional services, as well as a victim offender dialogue process for the purposes of restorative justice. Solomon's profile will have to be submitted again in the month of July 2023."

Nxumalo said the board's decision was influenced by the offender's response to development and treatment programmes associated with rehabilitation, the existence and quality of support systems in the community, the probability of re-offending, and the risk the offender might pose to the community at large and also the risk to the complainant.

Solomon, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for kidnapping Zephany Nurse as a baby and renaming her Miché, was arrested after an incredible coincidence when then-schoolgirl Cassidy Nurse was astounded by Miché's likeness to her and her family. 

It was so striking Cassidy told her father, Morné Nurse, about it.

READ | 'I know she took me' - Miché Solomon on being Zephany Nurse

The Nurses had never given up hope they would be reunited with their daughter, Zephany, who was snatched from Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town shortly after Celeste Nurse gave birth to her. 

Morné took Cassidy and the girl who looked much like them for a meal and did some discreet probing.

Eventually, DNA tests were conducted, and a heart-wrenching sequence of events followed. 

It emerged Miché Solomon was indeed Zephany, the child who disappeared from the hospital in 1997.
Zephany Nurse with her fiance Justin Sheldon
Justin Sheldon proposed to Zephany Nurse on her 25th birthday.
Gallo Images PHOTO: ER Lombard/Gallo Images

The revelation caused heartache to both families, and at the tender age of 17, she had to deal with the enormity of it all, and questioning her own identity. 

Zephany opened up in a book and in media interviews and said she had always been treated well by Solomon. 

Solomon maintained she had not abducted the infant, but a woman called Sylvia had arranged a baby for payment. After miscarrying, she desperately wanted a child of her own, and the exchange was made at Wynberg train station.
Celeste Nurse walking outside Western Cape High Court
Celeste Nurse, biological mother of Zephany, leaves the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town during a break in sentencing proceedings.
AFP Rodger Bosch, AFP

Western Cape High Court Judge President John Hlophe said he took into account Solomon's age, her previously clean criminal record, and chronic health condition. 

On 15 August 2016, Solomon was sentenced to 10 years in jail for kidnapping. 

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