Baby snatcher, Lavona Solomon sewing her life together and complying with parole conditions

Baby snatcher, Lavona Solomon is doing well with her parole conditions. file image

Baby snatcher, Lavona Solomon is doing well with her parole conditions. file image

Published Mar 30, 2024


Cape Town - Eight months after Lavona Solomon, the woman who kidnapped baby Zephany Nurse more than two decades ago out of a Cape hospital was granted parole, Correctional Services have confirmed she was complying with conditions while family friends said she was back doing her sewing as a machinist in the community.

Candice van Reenen, Communications officer for the Department of Correctional Services said Solomon was part of rehabilitation programmes which she attended religiously.

“Lavona Solomon has been on parole since August 18, 2023 and is complying with the set conditions as determined by the Community Corrections office. She continues to receive support from Social Work Services.

“Solomon will remain a parolee until August 2026.”

Solomon currently resides in Seawinds inside her home with a family member.

A close family friend told Weekend Argus she had integrated well back into the community: “It was like she never left.

“She does sewing for the community and makes clothing garments for people.”

Soon after her release on parole it was revealed that Solomon’s husband, Michael, had entered into a new relationship and that she had been served with divorce papers while in prison.

According to her parole conditions, she is being subjected to high risk monitoring.

Her movement is restricted to the magisterial district where she lives and she is not allowed to change address without permission.

She is prohibited from using alcohol or drugs and must not commit any crime. She may also not engage with the media.

Tears, Bringing Hope and Healing, an organisation which provides care and support for victims told Weekend Argus that many factors such as depression could lead to a woman committing a crime like Solomon’s.

“There are so many factors that play a role when a person makes a decision, and they all need to be taken into account when looking at such complex problems. It is important that we try to look at these issues through a broader lens,” they added.

Trish Armstrong, a forensic criminologist, said women may turn to crimes such as kidnapping due to psychological factors which included mental illness.

“Psychological factors for women may include experiences of trauma, abuse, or mental health issues, influencing criminal behaviour as a coping mechanism or response to past events,” she said.

Women with untreated mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may be more susceptible to engaging in criminal activities. Substance abuse often becomes a coping mechanism for these individuals, leading to a vicious cycle of criminal behaviour. A sense of hopelessness and despair can drive women to make desperate choices.

“The belief that there are limited opportunities for improvement in their lives can push them towards risky behaviours as a way to gain a semblance of control.”

Solomon was convicted of kidnapping, fraud and contravening the Children’s Act and was sentenced to 10 years behind bars in 2016.

Three-day old baby Zephany was snatched by Solomon, a seamstress from Seawinds in Lavender Hill, at Groote Schuur Hospital in April 1997.

Lavona Solomon with her husband, Michael during the trial at the Cape High Court. FILE

Seventeen years after the kidnapping, the Nurses found their daughter.

It had been their youngest daughter, Cassidy, who attended the same school as Miche and two girls resembled one another.

DNA tests later revealed Miche was, in fact, the Nurse’s long last daughter.

During the trial, it was revealed that Solomon had suffered miscarriages and was desperate to have a child of her own and that she wanted the baby so that her partner, Michael would marry her.

Cape Town File picture Celeste Nurse in hospital with Zephany before she was abducted from Groote Schuur hospital on 30 April 1997 when she was just 2 days old

Solomon denied stealing the infant and claimed a woman named, “Sylvia” had handed her the baby at Wynberg train station but this was dismissed as a fairytale by the court.

But Solomon kicked back on the claims, that it was not true while Michael said he never knew that Miche was not his biological daughter.

Weekend Argus