Family finds stolen baby after 17 years

A baby stolen from her sleeping mother's arms shortly after birth has been found by the family through an astonishing coincidence 17 years later, South African police said yesterday.

Last month, students at the 17-year-old's school noticed a remarkable likeness between her and her younger biological sister, who started attending the same school this year.

A 50-year-old woman has been arrested and charged with kidnapping.

DNA tests have confirmed that the older girl is the daughter of Celeste and Morne Nurse. She was snatched from Groote Schuur hospital as a three-day-old baby named Zephany in April 1997, local media reported.

She had been living just a couple of kilometers from her biological parents who later had three more children.

They have celebrated Zephany's birthday every year since she was kidnapped, never giving up hope that their first-born child would come back to them someday, the Cape Argus said.

Zephany grew up with a different name and never knew she was not her parents' real daughter, AFP reported.

When schoolmates of younger sister Cassidy Nurse noticed the resemblance she bore to Zephany, Cassidy told her parents about the girl. They then invited her home for a cup of coffee.

When they saw the striking resemblance between the girls, they called the police.

The arrested woman and her husband, who is also in his 50s, have no other children. Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut said Zephany has since been placed in the care of social services.

This article was first published on Feb 28, 2015. Get The New Paper for more stories.