LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

South African Woman Sentenced To 10 Years For Kidnapping Baby In 1997

The woman convicted of kidnapping Zephany Nurse 19 years ago arrives at the Cape Town High Court in March.

A South African woman has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for kidnapping a 3-day-old baby and raising her as her own child.

The 52-year-old Cape Town woman remains anonymous, Peter Granitz reports for NPR, and continues to deny that she committed any crime.

Zephany Nurse was kidnapped from her mother's hospital room in 1997. She was given a new name by her kidnapper, which – like her abductor's name — has not been made public, to protect Zephany's privacy. She was raised as the kidnapper's own daughter.

Her biological mother and father celebrated Zephany's birthday every year. But years passed without any leads on the kidnapping.

Then the Nurses' second daughter made a friend — "a girl at school who looked remarkably like her," The Associated Press reports. Police were called in to investigate, and last year, DNA tests showed that the two friends were, in fact, sisters.

The woman who raised Zephany Nurse was charged with kidnapping.

"The trial dragged on for more than a year, and the case has captivated large swaths of South Africa," Granitz says.

Now the case has ended with a conviction — but no confession.

Judge John Hlophe told the woman she caused "immense" pain to the Nurses, the AP reports, citing the African News Agency. The wire service continues:

"Judge Hlophe criticized the kidnapper for sticking to her story that she had bought the baby from a woman who told her that the biological parents did not want the child.

" 'At the very least, one would expect you to apologize, but you chose not to,' the African News Agency quoted Hlophe as saying.

According to media reports, Zephany Nurse — under the name she has used for the past 19 years — is now living with her kidnapper's husband, whom she believed was her biological father, the AP says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)