S. African gets 10 years in jail for baby-snatching

Aug 15, 2016, 8:07 AM EDT
(Source: arboresce/flickr)
(Source: arboresce/flickr)

A South African woman, who abducted a newborn from a hospital 19 years ago and raised the girl as her own daughter, was sentenced to 10 years in jail on Monday. The story, which has gripped the nation for more than a year, came to light when the 51-year-old kidnapper was arrested in 2015 after people noticed a striking resemblance between the girl, Zephany Nurse, and another girl at school.

Authorities carried out D.N.A. tests, which proved that the two girls were sisters, writes the BBC. Nurse family’s victory is “bittersweet” as Zephany has refused to have a relationship with her biological parents and wishes to stay with the abductor’s husband, who she grew up believing to be her father.

The judge, John Hlophe, ordered the media not to use Zephany’s adopted name and the name of her kidnapper so as to protect their privacy, reports The Guardian. Zephany's biological grandmother Marilyn said she was not satisfied with the length of the sentence, which the judge said was decided with due consideration to the abductor’s clean record and other mitigating circumstances.