Family reunites with woman who was kidnapped as a toddler 51 years ago

FORT WORTH, Texas — A woman abducted more than 50 years ago has reunited with her family, WCIV reports.

In October, Melissa Highsmith’s family got a tip that she could be in the Charleston area -- in Daniel Island, South Carolina.

But this week, Highsmith’s family said they found her living in Forth Worth, Texas, which is also where they live, WCIV reported.

“I’m just elated, I can’t describe my feelings, I’m so happy to see my daughter that I didn’t think I would ever see again,” Alta Apantenco, Melissa’s mother, told Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA.

“I feel like I am dreaming, and I keep having to pinch myself to make sure I’m awake,” Highsmith said.

Highsmith was abducted in 1971. She was 21 months old at the time. WCIV reported that her mother, who was 22 at the time, handed her to a babysitter and that she was never seen again.

The family credits a DNA test with helping them track her down, WFAA reported.

Highsmith told WFAA she plans to change her name from Melanie back to Melissa. She said she also wants to re-marry her husband so her family can be at her wedding her and her father can walk her down the aisle.

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