November 29, 2022

"The Highsmiths are confident that they have found the right person. In addition to a 23andMe DNA kit that linked Melissa’s father, Jeffrie Highsmith, with one of her children..."

"... there are all the little things that make it feel right: A birthmark on Melissa’s back that matches one she had as a baby. The way she puts jalapeños on her nachos, mirroring her siblings’ love of spicy foods. The fact that she has a dog named Charlie, just like one of her sisters."

 From "She was kidnapped as a baby in 1971. Her family just found her alive" (WaPo).

"Despite living as 'Melanie' for most of her life, Melissa now wants to use her original first name, her sisters said. She wants to spend more time with their mother, with whom she felt an immediate connection. And she wants to redo her wedding to her current husband, her sisters said, so her father can walk her down the aisle."

31 comments:

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

I'm not seeing the Musk angle. Is it that he has so many children with so many partners?

Chris-2-4 said...

There's far too much nonsense in the excerpt that I couldn't possibly be induced to read the full article.

Expat(ish) said...

The article reads like it was written by an ESL student in a hurry. (And now I pray I make no mistakes in this post! :-)

But, once again, a sucker for happy endings, I persevered. Good luck to them all I say.

The WaPo comments remain a sewer - the first eight top ranked comments all ignore the happy ending and focus on (a) reproductive rights, (b) free government provided child care, and (c) republicans as evil.

Fantastic.

-XC

Wa St Blogger said...

The way she puts jalapeños on her nachos, mirroring her siblings’ love of spicy foods. The fact that she has a dog named Charlie, just like one of her sisters."

Really? That sounds like a cheap hallmark movie cliche. Birthmark: sure. DNA: proof. Spicy food and a dog named Charlie? You can only find 2,000,000 matches for that.

Leland said...

If all parties are happy, I don't really care, but the abundance of useless information provided makes me skeptical of the claim.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Re genetics and weird coincidences and anecdotes:

My biological father was a sperm donor whose identity I learned when I was in my thirties. He is a pilot. My daughter has been an aviation fanatic since she was a toddler (one of my favorite stories is of her asking a female pilot on our flight when she was two "we gonna fly now??" and the grinning pilot stroking her hair and saying "oh yes baby we're gonna fly all right. let's goooo!") and is now in school for aeronautical engineering and works at the airport and will become a commercial pilot herself. Something about wanting to be in the sky (or, less poetically, the personality and qualities that enable that) may be genetic indeed.

My biological uncle has a daughter (so, my first cousin) who was born at the same hospital within a week of me who has the same uncommon first name as I do with the same unconventional spelling. No one knew a thing about it until I found them. It's not Charlie though.

DLNE said...

If you have the DNA, you don't need the jalapenos.
Sheesh, are people stupid.

Tom T. said...

I don't understand why they're relying on a DNA link between her ostensible father and her child. Why not directly compare her to her sisters?

Joe Smith said...

She likes spicy food.

That sealed the deal for me...

Iman said...

USA! USA! USA!!!

Ann Althouse said...

“ I don't understand why they're relying on a DNA link between her ostensible father and her child. ”

The father has been looking for his daughter for decades. He got a dna test and that connected him to grandchildren he didn’t know about. They worked from there.

Iman said...

Tough shot to the groinal area though…

Lurker21 said...

If you and a sibling or child or grandchild you didn't know about share a love for spicy food or a fascination with flying or have a dog with the same name, that's not proof, but it's also not insignificant. It may be coincidental, or it may be something more than that that we can't yet fathom, but the enigma may be more intriguing than what we can can definitively prove or disprove. Call it part of the mystery of life.

Reunions with long lost relatives are always moving, and when the DNA you've had tested doesn't link you with some unsolved crime, that is in itself a cause for celebration.

Dr Weevil said...

I want to know who stole the baby, and why. Is the newly-found woman's 'mother' who was actually a stepmother dead now? What does her 'daughter', who just found out she's not her daughter, have to say about her? And was there a 'father', too? Did he help steal the baby, or did he come in later? Did he even know the baby was stolen? Is he dead, too? All this happy-ending stuff is tiptoeing around the sordid beginning part. Some of us want to know more about that.

robother said...

Much that doesn't add up in this story. The DNA is definitive. But the story of the kidnapping and being raised a few blocks away in Fort Worth seems highly implausible. Mother was separated from dad and not present when the (over the phone-arranged) "babysitter" took the kid. Was this all a story to mislead dad, when mom just wanted to get rid of the kid? Will the kidnapper mom tell her version of the story?

cubanbob said...

I very rarely read links to the NYT but isn't a crime involved here?

veni vidi vici said...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said:

"It's not Charlie though."

Is it... "Pantoliano", by any chance? Are you a lion who's misplaced his trousers?

typingtalker said...

Some birthmarks are hereditary and run in families, but most aren’t. Very occasionally, some are caused by gene mutations.
healthline.com

After taking the DNA tests that they hope will confirm their connection, they went out to lunch.
Call back when you get the results.

The sisters referred the DNA results to Lisa Jo Schiele, an amateur genealogist who used charts ...
Well ... that settles it.

MadisonMan said...

but isn't a crime involved here?
Is there a statute of limitations on kidnapping?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Some additional information: The New York Post reports that Melissa says she grew up in an abusive household where she didn’t feel loved and ran away when she was 15, and also says she confronted the woman who raised her, who confirmed that she was the baby Melissa. The Guardian says the statute of limitations for kidnapping expired 20 years after Melissa's 18th birthday.

Gospace said...

Ah, the ol' statute of limitations. Since Melissa wasn't returned, and wasn't found until now- the statute of limitations timing starts now that Melissa's been discovered and identified. The kidnapping isn't over if the kidnapped isn't returned... And this quote: Confronted recently, the woman confirmed knowing that Melissa was the kidnapping victim, Sharon Highsmith said. So she raised her and knew she was a kidnapping vitim- but wasn't the kidnapper herself? Accesory after the fact- and the crime was ongoing UNTIl Melissa was identified as a kidnapping victim. Not to mention criminal conspiracy charges related to the kidnapping.
Tom T. said...
I don't understand why they're relying on a DNA link between her ostensible father and her child. Why not directly compare her to her sisters?


That's the definitive test that he's the father. She could share DNA with all her sisters, and it could turn out he's NOT the father. And didn't know.

John henry said...

Glad to hear the happy ending. It's a shame it took so long but good on 23 an me for the match.

Just a reminder, all 23 and me DNA samples, as well as most other similar services are processed in China.

China has the largest US DNA database in the world.
Tens of millions of samples. Not only cost them nothing to collect. The suckers paid China to do it.

No chance of China using the data for nefarious purposes. I am sure we can trust them.

John Henry

Michael K said...

The popularity of DNA testing has roiled a few families. A guy contacted my daughter a couple of years ago. It turns out that he was a baby given up for adoption by my wife's sister as a teenager. We put him in touch with her after some soul searching and they met. She died last spring but she did get to see her son (she had another son and two daughters) and he got to meet his mother. He is a successful guy as a TV producer or something and was raised by good adoptive parents.

Lem Former Twitter Aficionado said...

President Biden would have found her long time ago, with just a whiff of her hair.

CStanley said...

My aunt and I recently connected with a woman who was probably the illegitimate child of my great uncle (so my aunt’s first cousin.) This woman showed up as a DNA match to me and explained she had been adopted at birth and was searching for her birth parents. She had her biological mother’s name but no father’s name. Since the mother’s info did not fit with our family tree I suspected this great uncle and realized it was the only likely fit. I’d never met this uncle but he was known as the “black sheep” and had been shunned from the family. Found out from my aunt that the shunning happened around the time of this woman’s birth. We’ll never know for certain but it all seems to fit and my aunt (who is childless and whose two siblings have died) is thrilled to have a new cousin.

pious agnostic said...

My gosh, what a bunch of grouches! The spicy food / dog name thing is just the babbling of a family happy to be reunited with a long-lost child.

Let them be happy. If you want to be mad about something, be bad at the reported that included such mush in their report.

DanTheMan said...

>>the same uncommon first name as I do with the same unconventional spelling

Is there more than one way to spell "misplaced"?

Gospace said...

Michael K said...
The popularity of DNA testing has roiled a few families.


Yes it has. I DNA matched someone Anestry identified as a first cousin. He's not. He is however in the right spot of the world to be a half nephew, so his mother or father, who would be somewhere between 7-10 years younger then me, would be my half sibling. Not a big surprise, we knew my father wasn't exactly faithful to my mother. His name matches up with multiple people where we lived from July 1963 to December 1965, 3rd grade and half of 4th grade. SO my half-sibling would have been born sometime between 9 months after we got there and 9 months after we left. No one else in our family lived anywhere near there. Oh, my family isn't roiled. I'd like to meet my half sibling.

So far- he's rebuffed any contact attempts. As have family members of his who are active on Ancestry. There are genetic things he- and my unknown half-sibling- should know. Like everyone in that side of the family, my father, his brother, my grandfather, and my brother and sister, have been diagnosed with diabetes after gaining enough weight to be medically obese. I've avoided that- I watch my weight carefully. In fact, two weeks ago my A1C level dropped enough to take me out of a pre-diabetes condition, where I've been for years. Still, however, taking the metformin... That's important information. But hey, I've done my part and attempted contact.

I'm certain my father died totally unaware he had a 4th child running around. And for all I know may have more who haven't been DNA tested yet...

I have DNA matches with individuals in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Goa, and a few other places overseas where the DNA says we're much closer then 7th cousins, and they have family trees going back 6 generations in those places that don't include even a surname in my tree. I have an uncle, grandfather, 3 great-uncles, and at least 4 distant cousins I know of who were merchant sailors between 1900 (or even a little earlier) and the present day.... Do the math...

I also have some DNA matches in KY that I cannot connect to my tree, and was told by a KY researcher ( and distant traceable relative) that one of my professional distant cousins would take his fees in trade if a young lady didn't have cash...

Pianoman said...

I'm recently retired, so I have more time to pursue my family's genealogy. I was recently contacted by a second cousin who discovered my family through Ancestry DNA testing. She was adopted, and is trying to locate her biological family. Not an easy task, especially considering that many of the people with answers to her questions are passed away.

We have managed to figure out my family's side of things. Now she's trying to figure out her maternal family's side. 23-And-Me has been a help, but we're not going to have concrete proof until the adoption agency that placed her unseals the records.

Her original birth certificate from 1954 was useless, as neither of the two names were her parents. They were "acquaintences".

DNA testing has opened a lot of closets with skeletons in them ...

Kate said...

Michael K, what a lovely story. I've had my DNA tested and recently connected with a man who was adopted and looking for his biological roots. Turns out we're cousins. I know we should be cautious of giving a corporation our DNA, but ... it's moving to find lost people.

Quaestor said...

Melissa Highsmith doesn't need a dog, she needs a large sack.