It took 17 long rigorous years of tormented nightmares before Zephany Nurse was finally reunited to her family in Cape Town after a close distinction was associated to her by her younger sister and fellow pupils.
It was almost close to being forgotten when the mysterious disappearance of a three-day old infant sleeping soundly in her own mother’s arms in Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital feasted both the local and international news. Since then, the manhunt for the prime suspect left the whole town puzzled. Long did they know, the answer to their prayers is just right under their noses as not only are they neighbors but also schoolmates!
By faith or by destiny, no exact word best describes the amount of joy and happiness Cassidy Nurse, aged 14, brought to parents Morné and Celeste after sharing the close resemblance to an older schoolmate named Zephany. From then on, the Nurses did not waste any time and immediately invited Zephany for a simple tea party. Zephany’s aunt Chantelle Nurse described Celeste of being emotional during the first meeting saying, “She was just crying and she knew that this was her child.” Hence, the meet and greet gave them ample time to collate sufficient DNA samples for testing purposes. Low and behold, the search is finally over—the DNA matched!
From there, the Nurses instantly pressed charges of kidnapping, fraud and contravening sections of the Children’s Act against the married but childless 50-year-old woman whom authorities believe must have changed Zephany’s true identity.
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Despite having two more girls and a boy, relieved Celeste confessed of never losing hope in finding their eldest sharing: “I just hope one day someone will realize something or see something and bring her back to us. ” As a matter of fact, they even celebrated Zephany’s birthday annually with a cake and candle. “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,” Morné added.
Meanwhile, Zephany’s custody remains with the social services while the case is still on the process. However, the Nurses revealed of throwing a big bash party for her long lost daughter in April. “We’re going to have a big bash for her. The feeling, I can’t explain. It’s like you’re in a dream and you’re trying to wake up and asking yourself if this is real”, Celeste said.
As for the arrested woman’s family, they shared that they too are in great remorse for the lost of their Zephany. “She has been part of our lives forever. And now she’s just gone. We have had no contact or anything. We have no idea where she is”, suspect’s sister said.
Coincidence or faith, no one can ever tell how the chess of life plays. Some say her story is too dramatic for a soap opera while some say it was plain Sherlock Holmes mystery solved. But still, if there is one miracle answered, that is Zephany’s reunion with her true family. However, Cape Town-based psychotherapist Coletta Canale shares that Zephany would require much love and support especially now that she grew up in a totally different upbringing. “Her world has been turned upside down by this and if she had a good relationship with the woman she knew as her mother, the loss is going to be profound, she may even feel guilty that she is the reason for her prosecution,” she said.
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