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Woman Sentenced to 10 Years in Jail for Kidnapping Baby & Raising Her

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A South African woman has been sentenced to ten years in jail for kidnapping a three-day old baby and raising her as her own daughter, according to the Associated Press.

The kidnapper, a 52-year-old woman from Cape Town, insists that she has not committed a crime. Her name has not been released to the public.

Zephany Nurse was kidnapped from her mother’s hospital room in 1997, when she was just three days old. She was given a new name by her kidnapper, which was not released to the public for security reasons, and raised as her kidnapper’s daughter. She has chosen to keep the name she grew up with.

Every year Zephany’s biological mother and father celebrated her birthday, even as years passed with no leads on the case, NPR reports.

A breakthrough in the case came when the Nurses’ daughter—Zephany’s biological sister, though they didn’t know that—made friends at school with Zephany herself. Because the girls looked so alike, the police were called in to investigate, and the results of DNA tests the two girls took showed that they were sisters.

After the DNA tests, the woman who had raised Zephany as her own daughter was charged with kidnapping, leading to a trial lasting more than a year.

The AP reports that the judge in the case, Judge John Hlophe, told the kidnapper that she had caused immense pain to the Nurse family. "At the very least, one would expect you to apologize, but you chose not to," he said in the courtroom.

Zephany Nurse currently lives with her kidnapper's husband (whom she thought was her biological father).


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