For every parent of a missing child, the dream is always the same: You discover that your long-lost child has finally made it home, safe and sound. While the reunion was many years in the making, one grateful family just turned that dream into blissful reality.
Born Melissa Suzanne Highsmith, a woman who first went missing as a toddler recently met up with her family in Fort Worth, Texas. The woman, later renamed Melanie, had been living only half an hour away from her birth parents and siblings. A DNA test taken by her birth father was the key to solving the decades-long mystery of Melissa’s disappearance.
Although Melissa is still awaiting the results of her own DNA test, the Highsmith family is certain they’ve found the right person, based on a combination of her birthmark and birthdate. With that said, family members and Melissa herself continue to process the unbelievably good news.
“I feel like I am dreaming and I keep having to pinch myself to make sure I’m awake,” Melissa said.
According to an Instagram post, Alta married her husband Jeff after dating for a brief period of time. The young couple soon became parents to Melissa and separated shortly thereafter. In 1971, Alta hired a new babysitter to care for her then 22-month-old daughter. Later, she returned to an empty house. It would take the next 51 years to uncover the truth — Melissa was abducted by the very woman who came to babysit her.
In the wake of Melissa’s tragic disappearance, Alta and Jeff reportedly reconciled and went on to have four more children.
Now the Highsmith family has proudly announced “WE FOUND MELISSA!!!” on a post to a Facebook group. Included in their heartwarming post are these words: “WE KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was OUR GIRL.” The family also maintained that they never stopped looking for Melissa over the years and are “beyond thrilled” about recent developments.
“I’m just elated, I can’t describe my feelings,” Alta said. “I’m so happy to see my daughter that I didn’t think I would ever see again.”
Clearly, a mother’s love cannot be diminished by time or distance.
As evidenced in their Facebook post, Melissa and her family are now experiencing the joy of being together once again. They have also expressed sincere gratitude for years of public support.
Finding their daughter after 51 years of separation is a dream come true for the Highsmiths. Nobody would have predicted this inspiring outcome. And we can’t imagine a more fitting end (or promising new beginning) to Melissa’s story.
Rejoice right along with the Highsmith Family by sharing Melissa’s story far and wide.
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