Baby taken away by babysitter 5 decades ago reunited with elderly parents who never gave up searching for her

A supposed babysitter picked up a 21-month-old woman from their residence in 1971. From that day on, the toddler’s household didn’t see her once more. After 51 years for the reason that abduction, they reunited together with her via a DNA match.

On August 23, 1971, Alta Apatenco made a newspaper inquiry a few babysitter for her one-year-old daughter Melissa. A girl reached out to her, introducing herself because the babysitter.

Trusting the girl, she allowed her to select her daughter up from their residence advanced in Fort Price, Texas.

Melissa with her biological parents

Apantenco was busy with work so her roommate handed Melissa to the babysitter, which in response to her, was well-dressed and was sporting white gloves. Since then, they didn’t see or heard from Melissa once more. The police did an investigation however didn’t discover plenty of clues for 5 a long time.

Melissa’s household by no means forgot about her for the previous a long time. They even threw out birthday events for her yearly. All these years, they didn’t hand over on her or lose hope that they’d in the future be reunited with Melissa.

Missing person bulletin for Melissa
Nationwide Heart for Lacking and Exploited Youngsters

For many years, Melissa’s household did every little thing they may to seek out her. They left feedback on dialogue boards arrange for her case and hurried to different states after they thought they’d a lead.

Additionally they arrange a Fb web page referred to as “Discovering Melissa Highsmith” and requested for assist in discovering their lacking relative.

Melissa’s household has relied on police help for years to seek out Melissa nevertheless it was their personal search that lastly led them to her. Jeffrie Highsmith, Melissa’s father, was going via his DNA and located three matches.

It was two boys and a woman. They didn’t perceive the matches so that they requested for the assistance of Lisa Jo Schiele, a genealogist.

Melissa's mother poses next to suspect's poster
Supply: Jeffrie Highsmith

Schiele used charts to interpret the important thing DNA outcomes and discover the connection between the three youngsters and Melissa.

“I got here in and tried to take a look at if there have been every other prospects in addition to these being such shut matches to Melissa,” Schiele stated. “And it didn’t take me lengthy to comprehend — I imply, I knew instantly that there wasn’t.”

Little Melissa with her parents
Supply: Jeffrie Highsmith

Schiele reached out to the kids’s adoptive father who helped them find Melissa’s Fb profile. They despatched her a message and Melissa didn’t wish to imagine what they stated about her actual identification. They advised her concerning the birthmark on Melissa’s again and she or he finally agreed to a DNA check.  

Melissa couldn’t imagine what she discovered about her actual identification and the way her actual household misplaced her. She was overwhelmed but additionally very completely happy when she lastly reunited together with her household. “I really feel like I’m dreaming, and I preserve having to pinch myself to ensure I’m awake,” Melissa stated.

Melissa's then and now photos
Nationwide Heart for Lacking and Exploited Youngsters

It seems that Melissa didn’t know she was kidnapped as a toddler. She grew up as Melanie Miyoko and was raised simply 10 minutes from the place she was kidnapped, which got here as an enormous shock to her organic household.

Melissa’s mom, who thought she would by no means see her daughter once more, was elated to see her lacking daughter after 51 lengthy years. Her father, alternatively, cried out like a child when he knew she was properly and alive.  

Melissa reunited with her real family
Supply: Jeffrie Highsmith

Melissa couldn’t assist however be offended at her “mother” who raised her. She confronted her on Fb and confessed that she purchased her on the road for $500. Nonetheless, Melissa thinks she’s the babysitter who kidnapped her from their residence in Fort Price.

Melissa shared that she is planning to alter her identify formally and remarry her husband so her father can stroll her down the aisle and her complete household can witness her marriage ceremony.

Melissa and her mother reunite
Supply: Good Morning America

The statute of limitation for the case has expired however her siblings are glad they reunited together with her and their mom is now freed from guilt and accusations that she killed Melissa and was simply hiding her.

“My mother did the most effective she may with the restricted sources she had – she couldn’t threat getting fired, so she trusted the one who stated they’d take care of her youngster,” Sharon Highsmith stated. “I’m grateful. Now we have vindication for my mother.”

Watch this video and witness Melissa’s heartwarming reunion together with her household: