A Texas lady kidnapped as a child 51 years in the past was reunited together with her household after they used a house DNA take a look at package to trace her down.
Melissa Highsmith was 22 months previous when she was allegedly kidnapped in August 1971 by a babysitter from her household’s Fort Price condo, in accordance with NBC Dallas-Fort Price.
Her mom, Alta Apantenco, was reportedly accused by police of presumably killing her daughter and hiding the crime, the information station reported. The household, nonetheless, mentioned Highsmith was taken from the house by a babysitter who answered Apantenco’s newspaper commercial looking for assist.
They spent greater than 5 a long time in search of Highsmith earlier than a DNA match on 23andMe supplied a break within the case.
“Our discovering Melissa was purely due to DNA, not due to any police / FBI involvement, podcast involvement, and even our household’s personal non-public investigations or speculations,” her household mentioned in a Fb publish on Sunday on a web page titled “We discovered Melissa!!!” “DNA WINS THIS SEARCH!”
Sister Victoria Highsmith instructed NBC Dallas-Fort Price that the DNA matched samples from Melissa Highsmith’s kids. The Highsmiths’ dad and mom then supplied their very own DNA samples.
Inside three weeks, the household had discovered Melissa Highsmith.
“It was like, ‘Increase, increase, increase,’ we discovered her,” Victoria Highsmith mentioned.
A spokesperson for 23andMe mentioned they’ve by no means heard of a case like this.
“There are actually no phrases to explain how unbelievable this story is. We’re so grateful Melissa and her household had been capable of reunite after such an extended time period, and we want all of them the most effective in attending to know each other,” the spokesperson mentioned.
Melissa Highsmith, who grew up as Melanie, was reunited together with her household on Saturday, weeks after her dad and mom and siblings held a information convention on Nov. 6 for her 53rd birthday.
“I couldn’t cease crying. I used to be overjoyed and I’m nonetheless strolling round in a fog attempting to grasp that my sister is correct in entrance of me and that we discovered her,” Victoria Highsmith mentioned. “It’s a Christmas miracle! It’s wonderful assembly her. It was like wanting into myself, she seems like me, like us. She’s overjoyed to be in our lives.”
One other sister, Sharon Rose Highsmith, wrote on Fb that Melissa had been residing in Fort Price for many of her life. Melissa instructed her household that she didn’t have a very good life and ran away from house at 15, NBC Dallas-Fort Price reviews. She mentioned she may also be altering her identify again to her start identify.
The Fort Price Police Division didn’t present particulars on the case, however mentioned it’s “overjoyed to listen to about how the Highsmith’s use of 23andme led them to Melissa.”
“The Fort Price Police Division can be conducting official DNA testing to substantiate Melissa’s identification, and the division will present an replace as soon as the official outcomes have are available,” a spokesperson mentioned in an emailed assertion on Tuesday.
An arrest can’t be made as a result of the legal statute of limitations expired 20 years after her 18th birthday, the division mentioned, noting that investigators are nonetheless working to uncover all out there data associated to the kidnapping.