In 1971, She Was Kidnapped From Her Parent’s Home As A Toddler By A Babysitter: Fifty-One Years Later, She Was Surprisingly Found And Reunited With Her Family

The tip ultimately did not lead to anything; however, after years of her case being cold, the possible lead did put Melissa’s story back into the national media spotlight. And afterward, the newfound discussions gave the Highsmith family renewed hope and strength in the search for their daughter.

Then, a 23AndMe DNA test eventually connected Melissa’s children with the Highsmith family.

“They said, ‘Dad, she’s alive,’ and I started crying. After fifty-one years, it’s so emotional,” Melissa’s father, Jeffire, revealed.

Although, after Jeffrie finally reached out to Melissa on Facebook, she at first believed it was some sort of scam.

“My father texted me on messenger, and he told me, ‘You know, I’ve been looking for my daughter for fifty-one years,'” Melissa explained in an interview with CBS.

For her entire life, though, she had no clue that her real family had been relentlessly searching for her. So, Melissa finally asked the person who raised her for answers.

“The person that raised me, I asked her, ‘Is there anything you need to tell me?’ and it was confirmed that she knew that I was baby Melissa so that just made it real,” she said.

Afterward, Melissa agreed to test her DNA and was finally reunited with her parents and brother, Jeff, on Thanksgiving day.

She has since spent time with her family looking at baby photos of herself that she had never seen and trying to come to terms with the truth.

“It’s overwhelming, but at the same time, it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world,” Melissa said.

“My heart right now is just full and bursting with just so much emotion. I’m just really, really happy.”

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