Cape Town - The first public images of Zephany Nurse as a toddler surfaced this week when the teen took to Facebook to post an encouraging message for her imprisoned kidnapper.
“I love and miss you Mommy. You one of my greatest blessings God has given me,” she posted on Wednesday.
Underneath the words she posted the pictures, including one of herself in the arms of her jailed kidnapper.
In another picture, she was sitting on a bed, dressed in pink, with a frilly bonnet on her head. People who saw the posts sent her messages of support.
Zephany was a newborn baby in 1997 when her picture was splashed across the front pages of newspapers in Cape Town as the infant who had been kidnapped from Groote Schuur Hospital’s maternity unit. It was the only photograph that her biological parents, Morne and Celeste Nurse, had before she disappeared.
Seventeen years later, her biological sister happened to enrol at the same high school she attended.
The two became friends, and later biological father Morne Nurse became suspicious when he noticed the striking resemblance between them. He eventually contacted Lieutenant Colonel Mike Barkhuizen.
DNA tests established that Nurse’s daughter’s friend was indeed the missing Zephany Nurse. Her kidnapper - the only woman she knew as her mother - was arrested and tried for her kidnapping.
She cannot be identified in order to protect the name Zephany now uses.
Last August, the kidnapper was sentenced to an effective 10 years behind bars.
She was convicted of kidnapping, fraud and contravention of the Children’s Act.
In a report before the court, probation officer Yumna Rinquest described the bond between Zephany and the accused as a “typical mother and daughter relationship”.
They spent time together daily and engaged in activities appropriate for the child’s age.
They also enjoyed visiting Cape Point as a family.
The biological family has told the media she had rejected them for the woman who kidnapped her, and her family.