On March 23, 2001, a new mother was heading home after giving birth at the Ermelo Provincial Hospital in Mpumalanga.
While stopped outside a shop to wait for her baby’s aunt, she started feeling a little pain and dizziness.
A woman nearby saw she might have needed help, and offered to hold the baby for her.
Then, the woman disappeared with her baby, never to return or be found.
The mother immediately opened a case at the local police station, but the police had no strong leads about the child abduction and so the case remained cold for more than two decades.
Until recently, when a “curious teen” was scrolling on Facebook and saw a picture that would help reunite her mother with the child that was snatched from her on that awful day in 2001.
TimesLIVE has more from police spokesperson Brig Selvy Mohlala:
Mohlala described the case as one that was “cracked by coincidence”. “It was this teenage girl’s curiosity that led to police solving the case,” said Mohlala.
“She was on Facebook and on the ‘people you may know’ option. She saw a woman who looked a lot like her mother. She showed the picture to her grandmother and said, ‘Does this girl not look like mom?’ The grandmother sent her to her mother to show her the picture and, for the first time, the mother revealed to her that she had lost a child 20 years ago,” said Mohlala.
The teen had no idea that she had an older sister, and that her mother, at the age of 16, had that daughter snatched from outside a shop.
After bringing the new information to police, they traced the 20-year-old woman from Facebook, took her for DNA testing, and found that she was indeed the abducted child.
The 50-year-old woman believed to have stolen the baby in 2001 and raised her as her own was charged with child abduction and arrested.
The case has been postponed to January 2022.
Meanwhile, the abducted daughter is undergoing psychological treatment and is set to reunite with her biological family soon.
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