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Woman who kidnapped baby 20 years ago then raised her as her own is jailed

Pic shows: Celeste Nurse with baby Zephany before she was abducted in April 1997.nnA newborn baby kidnapped 17 years ago has been reunited with her parents after she ended up going to a school with one of her sisters.nnFriends of the pair pointed out the amazing similarities between the two, and when her biological parents heard about it they discovered that the child was really their daughter.nnZephany Nurse had vanished on April 30, 1997 from Woodstock in South Africa two days after being born.nnIn a police report posted the time they said: "Zephany was only three days old when she was abducted by an unknown coloured female at about 1530 out of the hospital. The unknown female spoke to the mother about the baby and the mother fell asleep, when the nurse came to wake the mother up, Zephany was gone."nnAlthough details of what happened to her in the intervening 17 years unclear, what is known as the end up attending a school with one of her three biological sisters, where people notice the similarities.nnWhen the parents who never gave up hope of finding their daughter heard about it, they had decided to invite the other girl to have tea, and after noticing the stark similarity between her and the other children, they called police.nnA police spokesman said: "Cassidy Nurse started attending the school in grade 8 with her older sister who was already a pupil and people were convinced that they were related."nnPolice spokesman Andre Traut said a woman was arrested as a result of a DNA test and had appeared in court over the kidnapping that had taken place at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town in South Africa.nnThe woman and her husband, in his fiftiess, have no other children.nnIn a 2010 interview, the girl's biological father Morné said: "I'll never, ever give up hope. I can feel it in my gut - my daughter is out there and she is going to come home."nnEvery year the family celebrated their daughters birthday on 28th of April, with a cake with her name on it.nnAnd in a cruel twist of fate actually living just a couple of miles from her parents but the amazing discovery happened only after she was moved to the new school.nnCeleste and Morné Nurse, who went on to have three more children Cassidy, Joshua and Micah who are Zephany's younger siblings never gave up hope that their first-born would come back to them someday.nnPolice said that Zephany grew up with a different name, and a different family, never knowing she was not their real daughter.nnPolice added: "The suspect is being charged with kidnapping, fraud and contravening sections 32 (4) (a) and (b) of the Children¿s Act ¿ in that she fraudulently pretended that she was the biological mother of a child.nn"The kidnapped girl has since been placed in the care of the Department of Social Services of the Western Cape Government."nnThe family meanwhile have so far been unwilling to speak to the media as the family met to decide the way forward now that Zephany had been found and her future thrown into turmoil.nn"We have no closure here," he said.nn(ends)  n

A woman has been jailed for 10 years for kidnapping a baby then raising her as her own before a coincidence reunited her with her biological family.

The woman claimed that the baby was given to her at a train station 20 years ago after she entered into a private ‘adoption’ programme.

By remarkable coincidence, the baby grew up to become close friends with a fellow high school student who turned out to be her sister.

After students remarked on their physical similarity, the friend told her parents, who became convinced it was Zephany Joy Nurse, the child taken from them after her birth.

A DNA test and police investigation revealed the two friends were actually sisters.

The 50-year-old woman, who cannot be identified, who took Zephany from her mother’s beside in April 1997 was found guilty.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA FEBRUARY 23: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Zephany Nurses biological mother Celeste Nurse outside the Cape Town High Court on February 23, 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa. The trial of the woman accused of abducting Zephany Nurse 19 years ago continues in court today. (Photo by Denvor De Wee/Die Burger/Gallo Images/ Getty Images)

Zephany’s biological parents, Celeste and Morne, were last year reunited with their daughter for the first time since the abduction.

‘We’re over the moon,’ Morne told reporters outside the Cape Town court at the time. ‘My daughter is back and we just have to work our way, feel our way and just be happy.’


*** EXCLUSIVE *** CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, APRIL 29, 1997: COLLECT PHOTO shows newborn Zephany Nurse in hospital in April 29, 1997, in Cape Town, South Africa. She was abducted the following day. A MOTHER has been reunited with her daughter who was kidnapped at birth ? 17 YEARS after she was found attending the same school as her biological sister. Zephany Nurse from Cape Town, South Africa, was three days old when snatched from her sleeping mothers arms in April 1997. The newborn?s devastated parents, Morné and Celeste Nurse, never lost hope of seeing their first-born again - and celebrated her birthday for the next 17-years without her. Zephany, who didn?t know she came from a different family and grew up a few streets from her biological parents under a different name. MANDATORY CREDIT: Mail Online / Barcroft Media UK Office, London. T +44 845 370 2233 W www.barcroftmedia.com USA Office, New York City. T +1 212 796 2458 W www.barcroftusa.com Indian Office, Delhi. T +91 11 4053 2429 W www.barcroftindia.com

Zephany Nurse in hospital in 1997 (Picture: Barcroft)

John Ray, reporting for ITV, said that Celeste ‘burst into tears at the verdict’.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the kidnapped girl, had said that she paid a woman to find her a baby to adopt after she had a miscarriage in 1996.


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