Fort Worth Police confirmed the true identity of a Texas woman, Melissa Highsmith, who was abducted as a toddler 52 years ago. She was found through DNA testing and was reunited with her birth family after more than five decades of separation.
Police confirmed the family’s private DNA testing results this week.
Now 53 years old, Melissa grew up as Melanie Brown. And she was raised just ten minutes away from where she was kidnapped.
She never knew she was taken from her parent’s home in Fort Worth in August of 1971. And that the woman who claimed to be her mother kidnapped her while posing as a babysitter.
A baby is kidnapped
Melissa Highsmith’s biological mother, Alta Apantenco, posted a newspaper ad for a babysitter shortly before her daughter was kidnapped. A woman responded to the ad, agreeing to meet then-21-year-old Alta at the diner where she worked, but never showed up.
The prospective babysitter called later, telling Alta that she really wanted the position and had previously babysat other children in her large backyard. Without meeting in person, Alta hired the woman over the phone out of desperation, having recently separated from her husband, Jeffrie Highsmith.