Woman jailed for new­born baby kid­nap

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A SOUTH African court jailed a woman for 10 years for kid­nap­ping a new­born baby and rais­ing her as her own, be­fore an as­ton­ish­ing co­in­ci­dence re­united the girl with her bi­o­log­i­cal fam­ily.

The baby girl, named Zephany Nurse by her birth fam­ily, was taken from her sleep­ing mother at a ma­ter­nity ward at Groote Schuur Hospi­tal in Cape Town in 1997.

Her kid­nap­per, now 52, raised her for 17 years in a case that has at­tracted huge me­dia in­ter­est in South Africa.

The girl’s real iden­tity only came to light in Fe­bru­ary 2015, when her younger bi­o­log­i­cal sis­ter be­gan at­tend­ing high school and pupils pointed out her re­mark­able like­ness to a fi­nal-year stu­dent.

Eric Ntabazalila, spokesper­son for the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity, said prose­cu­tors had sought a 15-year sen­tence for the kid­nap­per, who can­not be named to pro­tect her vic­tim’s iden­tity.

“She gets 10 years’ di­rect im­pris­on­ment. We are happy with that,” said Mr Ntabazalila.

“You can­not go out and steal a child and ex­pect that the so­ci­ety will ac­cept that, or the courts will ac­cept that, or the gen­eral pub­lic will ac­cept that,” he said.

The Nurse fam­ily had been liv­ing within a cou­ple of kilo­me­tres of their kid­napped daugh­ter.

Once their other daugh­ter told her par­ents that an­other pupil at school looked just like her, they went to meet the older girl and im­me­di­ately thought she could be their long-lost child.

DNA tests con­firmed she was in­deed Ms Zephany, lead­ing to the ar­rest of the woman who had claimed to be her mother. –

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