CAPE TOWN, South Africa–
When Zephany Nurse was snatched from her sleeping mother as an infant, her biological parents thought they would never see their daughter again. Now, 17 years later, the family discovered their daughter was raised mere miles away from their home in Cape Town.
The woman accused of kidnapping Zephany raised the child as her own.
“She really loved the child,” a neighbor told CNN. “The type of life the child had was a great life.”
Years after she was taken from the hospital where she was born, Zephany attended the same school as her biological sister. The girls looked so much alike that police performed DNA testing, revealing Zephany’s true identity.
“Just from the biological parents’ side, is that firstly they know that their child is not dead,” said Minister of Social Development Albert Fritz. “She’s not missing anymore, but there are other issues that they must now deal with. It’s not easy saying there is closure, there are open ended issues they are dealing with.”
As Zephany is only months from becoming a legal adult, it will be up to her to decide where she wishes to live and who she wants to recognize as family. Until the case is closed, Zephany will remain in the care of the Social Development Department.
“My only hope came alive and that’s all I can say,” said Zephany’s biological father, Morne Nurse. “I’m over the moon. Very happy. Extremely happy. My daughter is back, and that’s it.”