Melissa Highsmith, a
Texas woman, got reunited with her family after over five decades. She
disappeared in 1971 from her home in Fort Worth, Texas, shortly before her
second birthday. The family’s years-long search ended when a DNA test report
connected Melissa’s children with the family. 

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The now 53-year-old
Highsmith met her siblings and family for the first time in the last 51 years
on November 26, 2022 after the family was dissociated by a mystery kidnapping.

Who is Melissa

Melissa Highsmith was
born in October 1969, to father Jeffrie Highsmith and mother Alta Apantenco.
She was 22 months old when her mother wanted to hire a babysitter and she gave
an ad in a local newspaper. 

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A woman, who
introduced herself as Ruth Johnson over a phone call to Apantenco was able to
convince her and got hired. Johnson promised to take care of the 22-month-old
at her home, and a roommate of Apantenco handed over Melissa to the babysitter. 

But she vanished with
the baby on August 23, 1971, and was never seen again. This sparked a
years-long search by the Highsmith family, local police and federal

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The search by family members
took a new turn this September when the family got a tip off from the National
Center for Missing and Exploited Children that Melissa was spotted in
Charleston, South Carolina. Following the tip off led to the fact that their
daughter was living in Fort Williams only by the name of Melanie Walden, and
the babysitter renamed her so.

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The final breakthrough
came in the case when a DNA test from 23AndMe connected Melissa’s children
with their family, assisted by an amateur genealogist that helped them
understand the results. 

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“Our finding Melissa was purely because of DNA, not because of any police or FBI involvement, podcast involvement, or even our family’s own private investigations or speculations,” the family wrote on Facebook this Sunday.