A child who was taken as a toddler more than half a century ago has been found and returned to her family, who did not give up their frantic and dogged search for her.
On August 23, 1971, when Melissa Highsmith was just 21 months old, a lady who pretended to be a babysitter took her from her house in Forth Worth, Texas. Melissa, who had grown up under the alias Melanie Miyoko, was able to locate her long-lost sister on Facebook after her actual siblings used DNA testing to determine that she was really their long-lost sister.
According to Melissa, the lady who claimed to be her mother was never someone with whom she had a particularly close connection. She had a difficult childhood and had the constant impression that something was wrong with her life as she was growing up.
Melissa said that she was never permitted to go outdoors and play, and that her mother protected her at all times.
The woman who claims to be Melissa’s biological mother, Alta Apantenco, expressed her joy at discovering that her daughter was still alive and doing well. She acknowledges that looking for Melissa throughout the course of the previous five decades was a challenging and disheartening endeavor.
Alta said that despite her want to believe that her daughter was still alive, she had been let down a great number of times.
The other members of the family never gave up and continued to be persistent in their quest.
A DNA match finally provided conclusive evidence that Melanie Miyoko was, in fact, their long-lost Melissa.
After a five-decades long separation, Melissa was at last able to see her parents and two of her other siblings, Jeff and Victoria. Around the time of Christmas, her two sisters, Rebecca and Sharon, are planning to visit her in Fort Worth.
Melissa adds, “It’s going to be tough to get accustomed to really having so much family when I didn’t have any.” Family is looking forward to spending more time all together.