Woman Reunited With Family After Going Missing Over 50 Years Ago
(ConservativeHub.com) – Once someone has been missing for a few days, the chance of finding them dwindles quickly. Despite this, one family never gave up hope of finding their daughter, Melissa Highsmith, after a babysitter kidnapped her in 1971. Now, over 50 years later, her parents, Alta Apantenco and Jeffrie Highsmith, have reunited with their child.
In August 1971, Apantenco found a babysitter to look after her 21-month-old daughter while she was at work. However, after the caretaker picked up the child, she never brought her home. In the coming years, the family searched all over the nation for their baby girl, following clue after clue, each one eventually fading to nothing.
However, on November 6, Jeffrie Highsmith received the results of a DNA test showing he had a granddaughter he didn’t know. Melissa’s sister, Rebecca Del Bosque, researched Ancestry.com and realized the mystery person was likely the child of their missing sister.
Eventually, an amateur genealogist helped the family contact their long-lost daughter. They met in Fort Worth, Texas, and took another DNA test to solidify the connection.
Missing woman Melissa Highsmith, kidnapped as a baby in Texas, was reunited with her mom, Alta Apantenco, 51 years later after a 23andMe DNA test. 🥰
"I'm just so happy to see my daughter I didn't ever think I would ever see again," Alta Apantenco said. https://t.co/s8d8NULTV5 pic.twitter.com/LQsVX6Wbhe
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) November 28, 2022
This reunion inspired Melissa, who went by “Melanie” after her kidnapping, to use her given name again, and she even reportedly wants to redo her wedding vows with her found family in attendance. As if to reinforce how the family’s hope never died, Del Bosque told the Washington Post that Melanie spent her life believing she didn’t have much family, but that now she knows she “has a huge family who loves her and never stopped looking for her.”
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