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Texas Woman Believed To Be 1971 Kidnap Victim Reunites With Family

Added 11-29-22 05:26:03pm EST - “Melissa Highsmith, who was 22 months old when she was abducted by a purported babysitter in 1971, met her family in Fort Worth, and received some long-overdue hugs.” - Huffpost.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Huffpost.com: “Texas Woman Believed To Be 1971 Kidnap Victim Reunites With Family”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A woman who family members believe was the toddler who was kidnapped by a babysitter 51 years ago has been reunited with her family in Fort Worth, in a meeting filled with long-overdue hugs and joyful tears.

Melissa Highsmith was 22 months old when she was abducted by a purported babysitter in 1971. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that she lived in Fort Worth most of her life as Melanie Brown and didn’t know she was kidnapped until her biological father, Jeffrie Highsmith, submitted DNA to 23andMe and learned that he was a match to Brown’s children.

The family said in a news release that they worked with an amateur genealogist to help interpret the DNA results and mine public records to find Melissa, who reunited with her parents and two of her siblings this weekend.

“It was just a mixture of joy and terrifying. Being terrified and excited and just trying to understand, you know, make sense of everything,” Melissa Highsmith told KDFW-TV.

In a statement Monday, the Fort Worth Police Department said it’s “overjoyed” to hear that 23andMe led the Highsmiths to Melissa, and they will conduct official DNA testing to confirm her identity. The investigation into her kidnapping will continue.

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