Woman discovers hospital kidnapped her daughter 50 years later
Imagine being told that your daughter had died in childbirth, only to find out almost fifty years later that she is actually alive. Well, that’s exactly what happened to one Missouri woman who received a surprise visit from her daughter almost half a century after she gave birth to her.
In 1965, Zella Jackson Price gave birth at the Homer G. Phillips Hospital, a hospital that only tended to black people in St. Louis Missouri. Her daughter was born two months premature, and Price was told that her baby was dead.
The distraught mother was never shown the body, and the hospital never produced a death or birth certificate… only years later the mother has discovered that the reality was far different to that she was told by medics.
What had actually happened was that her daughter Melanie Gilmore had survived, despite being premature, and was put in a foster home. The youngster was brought up to believe that her mother had given her up for adoption.
But Zella isn’t the only mother to have suffered at the hands of the kidnappers. While details of who was involved and how many other children were taken remain uncertain, other mothers have come forward with similar stories from the same hospital in the 1950s and 1960s.
Otha Mae Brand, 63, of St. Louis, was 15 when she gave birth to a girl in the spring of 19967. Her child was also two months premature and was hospitalised for 10 days while Brand was sent home.
One day she received a call from a nurse who told her that her daughter had sadly passed away. “I had no reason not to believe them,” Brand said. “I got that phone call and that was the last I heard.”
But after the unearthing of Price’s story, she believes her daughter may still be alive. “I told my children, ‘It’s a possibility your sister may be living,’” she said.
Albert Watkins, Price’s attorney, is urging for city and state officials to investigate into the cases. With any luck, more mothers, who have met a similar fate, will be reunited with their children and the people responsible for the vicious kidnaps will be put behind bards.
For Price, she’s overwhelmed to have been reunited with her daughter, who lost her hearing at the age of three because of a childhood illness. But despite their reunion, she is deeply saddened that she will never get those years back. “For me not to be able to love on this child like I did with the others, I’m going through a lot of emotions,” said Price. “But I’m so blessed to know that she is alive.”