A mother who had prayed to find her baby girl who was stolen from her hours after she was born 20 years ago has been left shattered after the daughter told her she needed time to think.
Tuesday was an emotional day for the mother, 36, who has asked not to be named for now as she watched police drive away with her daughter, to take her back to Carolina, Mpumalanga, to the home of the woman who allegedly snatched her on March 23 2001.
The 20-year-old woman was found by her 16-year-old brother on Facebook under “people you may know” last month, putting an end to the family's 20-year agony of not knowing where she was.
Provincial police had regarded the matter as a cold case until the teenager saw her picture and showed it to his grandmother, saying the woman in the picture looks so much like her mother and other relatives.
The grandmother then took the image and sent it to her daughter, saying the person in it could be her long-lost daughter who was snatched from her after birth at Ermelo Provincial Hospital.
This then led the mother to go to police to ask for them to investigate the matter. They reopened the case and they traced the woman to Carolina and DNA tests were conducted late last month.
The mother said Tuesday: “It's a bitter-sweet feeling because after losing her to a stranger who tormented me by stealing her, she went back to them. God answered my prayers but they have turned into tears again because I feel she has no bond with me.
“For over 20 years, I looked across the road, hoping I would see her walk home or have someone bring her back to me. It never happened until the miracle happened that through her birthmark on the face, I could use it to identify her.”
She said when her daughter was born, she had a small black spot underneath her chin. “It's still there.”
She said she had briefly spoken to her child because they were always surrounded by police and social services officials, among other people. “There is a lot that I want to say to her. I want to sit her down and explain what I went through over the past 20 years, maybe she will understand.”
Meanwhile, a woman, 50, has been charged with child abduction.
Police spokesperson Brig Selvy Mohlala said the woman appeared in the Ermelo magistrate’s court on November 30 and was released on R1,000 bail.
Her case was postponed to January 2022.