, 2022-11-27 16:57:00,
A woman who was kidnapped as a child 51 years ago was identified through DNA and found still living in Fort Worth, her family announced on Sunday after being reunited with her this weekend.
Melissa Highsmith was 22 months old when she was abducted by a babysitter in 1971. She has lived in Fort Worth most of her life and never knew she had been kidnapped, her family wrote in posts on a Facebook page called “WE FOUND MELISSA!!!”
Family members wrote on Facebook that they don’t know what happened to the woman who took the child and that they expect police will investigate.
Melissa’s mother, Alta Apantenco, had left the toddler in the care of her roommate, who handed her off to the babysitter on Aug. 23, 1971, the family said in a news release Sunday.
“Though missing for decades, the family never forgot about Melissa,” the release said. “They continued to throw birthday parties for her, including the most recent one in November. That same day, the family found a match in DNA results.”
Melissa’s father, Jeffrie Highsmith, recently submitted his DNA to 23andMe, a website customers can use to find relatives and create a family tree. The database found a match to three grandchildren, who are the children of Melanie Brown, her husband, John Brown, wrote on Facebook. A DNA test of Melanie Brown determined she is Melissa Highsmith, he wrote.
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