FORT WORTH, T.X. (WCBD) – Melissa Highsmith, a toddler kidnapped more than 50 years ago in Texas, has been reunited with her family, according to a post on their Facebook page, “WE FOUND MELISSA!”

According to the Highsmith family, a 23 & Me DNA match led to the reunion of Melissa Highsmith and her family who have been searching for her for over 50 years.  

Melissa Highsmith was abducted on August 23, 1971, by someone claiming to be a babysitter; she was 21 months old at the time. 

In October of 2022, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCEMC) said they received an anonymous tip claiming Melissa was spotted on Daniel Island. 

The family announced on Sunday that a DNA match led them to Melissa. 

Melissa, who now goes by ‘Mel’, met her mother and father for the first time after 51 years.  

The family says that the moment they saw her photos, and spoke of her birthmark and birthdate, the family knew it was their daughter. 

Preliminary DNA testing proved a positive match for Melissa Highsmith. However, the family is waiting for the official DNA test results.  

“The joy is palpable amongst all family members, and we invite you to celebrate and rejoice with us, and also allow our family some moments of privacy as we process this exciting news! Thank you for your support over the years,” the Highsmith family said. 

The family says Mel has been living in Fort Worth, Texas most of her life.