The birth mother of baby Zephany Nurse broke down in tears when she recalled the details of her daughter’s kidnapping from Groote Schuur Hospital 19 years ago.
Celeste Nurse told Western Cape High Court Judge John Hlope that she had been on medication after an emergency Caesarian section was performed on April 28 1997 to deliver the baby she would only know for three days.
“I was 18. It was my first pregnancy,” she said.
Three days later, still in a “drugged” state, she said she heard Zephany crying.
When she woke up she saw a woman sitting at the door, Nurse recalled.
Her bed and the baby’s cot were both right next to the entrance.
“She told me the child was crying and asked if she could pick her up,” she said.
The woman had been wearing an Old Mutual top and a maroon pants, similar to the uniform of the nursing staff, she testified.
Nurse said she could not recall what happened thereafter.
“I woke up when the sister came in and asked me: ‘Mommy, where is your baby?’.”
The then 18-year-old, with a drip still in her arm, searched for the baby on every floor of the hospital.
“But she was nowhere to be found. Gone.”
The police were then called and another mother, who had seen a woman in the ward earlier, helped to give a description of the stranger.
A 51-year-old woman, accused of snatching the three-day-old baby from Groote Schuur Hospital, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The accused is facing charges of kidnapping, fraud and contravening the Children’s Act.
The accused, who may not be named as it could lead to the teenager being identified, was arrested in February last year.
The matter came to light when the girl’s biological sister, who is four years younger, told her parents that a matric girl at her school bore a striking resemblance to her and her parents.
When the parents discovered the girl had the same birthday as their missing child, they reported it to police.
DNA tests confirmed the teen was indeed their daughter.