Summary judgment

Woman found guilty of kidnapping newborn 19 years ago

Celeste Nurse (center) is the mother of a South African girl who was abducted after birth in 1997. (STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

Almost 19 years ago, Celeste Nurse, just 18 at the time, awoke in a hospital in in Cape Town, South Africa. Just three days before, Nurse had given birth to her first child, a girl — but to her shock and dismay, she discovered that her newborn girl had vanished while she was sleeping. On Thursday, nearly two decades later, justice was served to the woman who snatched Nurse’s newborn when a court found the 50-year-old woman, who isn’t being named by authorities, guilty on several charges. “Your story, if anything, is a fairy tale and the court rejects it with the contempt it deserves,” the judge thundered. Applause broke out in the courtroom as the woman was led away, ending an emotional and often tearful trial on both sides.

In March of 1997, once the baby had been discovered missing, witnesses had reported seeing an unknown woman milling around the maternity ward wearing a nurse’s uniform. The physical description they gave of the mystery woman matched the description of the woman accused in the case. For her part, the woman said she’d been handed the newborn at a train station after applying for an adoption program. Throughout the trial, the woman maintained she had no idea the baby had been reported missing and she said she’d raised the girl, whom she named Zephany, along with her husband as a happy family. However, the judge said her claims “totally disintegrated in cross examination.”

Nurse, now 36, and her husband Mone were reunited with their daughter a year ago, when her real identity came to light through an unlikely coincidence involving her younger, long-lost sister. Despite the verdict, one mystery still persists: Zephany’s whereabouts. Some believe the emotional trauma of the last year has caused her to drop out of school and sent her into hiding, possibly with the man she has believed to be her biological father for her whole life. Outside the courtroom, Celeste and Mone Nurse, Zephany’s biological parents were besieged by reporters, but their only words were, “Thank you, thank you.”

Read the full story at Yahoo News.

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