HomeUSA newsFamily of Melissa Highsmith, a Texas girl kidnapped more than 50 years...

Family of Melissa Highsmith, a Texas girl kidnapped more than 50 years ago, “closer and closer” to the answers

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In September, an anonymous tipster reported a possible sighting of a woman in Charleston, South Carolina, who may have gone gone like a baby from his home in Texas 51 years ago.

Now, the family of the missing Melissa Highsmith has renewed hope that she may be alive and well today, but they need to keep her name in case there are more possible sightings.

“We feel like we’re taking a step in the right direction,” Jeff Highsmith, Melissa’s 42-year-old brother, told Fox News Digital of the search for his sister more than five decades after she went missing. “We’re getting closer to finding out where she is and what’s going on.”

Melissa disappeared from Fort Worth, Texas, on Aug. 23, 1971, when she was just 21 months old, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), which has been working with the Highsmith family to find to Melissa and keep her face. – a digitally aged face – in the news.

FAMILY OF MELISSA HIGHSMITH, LITTLE FROM TEXAS TAKEN AWAY IN 1971, RENEWS SEARCH AFTER POSSIBLE SIGHTING 51 YEARS LATER

The photo shows Melissa Highsmith as a baby, and a colorized image of what Melissa Highsmith might look like now.
(National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)

On November 6, on what would have been Melissa’s 53rd birthday, the Highsmith family hosted a “celebration of life” for Melissa at the local police station, not far from where she was abducted all those years ago.

SOUTH CAROLINA INFORMER REPORTS SIGHT OF MISSING MELISSA HIGHSMITH, WHO DISAPPEARED FROM TEXAS 51 YEARS AGO

The Highsmith family also traveled from Texas to Charleston in October to speak to locals about the case and spread awareness.

Melissa Highsmith's family held a funeral for her 53rd birthday outside the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex in Fort Worth, TX.  PICTURED: Victoria Garner (sister), Jeffrie Highsmith (brother), Mellissa Robinson (extended family member).

Melissa Highsmith’s family held a funeral for her 53rd birthday outside the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex in Fort Worth, TX. PICTURED: Victoria Garner (sister), Jeffrie Highsmith (brother), Mellissa Robinson (extended family member).
(James Breeden for Fox News Digital)

“We think the trip to Charleston was a great success. We were able to connect with some great people who live in the area,” Jeff said. “Two of the ladies we met when we were there continue to try to raise awareness for her in that area.”

The case has drawn local media attention in both Texas and South Carolina.

La madre de Jeff y Melissa, Alta, quien recientemente se separó cuando se mudó a <u>Fort Worth</u> and working as a waitress in the 1970s, she had placed an ad in the local paper requesting a nanny to care for Melissa—her firstborn, at the time. “/></source></source></source></source></picture></div>
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Jeff and Melissa’s mother, Alta, who recently split up when she moved to Fort Worth and working as a waitress in the 1970s, she had placed an ad in the local paper requesting a nanny to care for Melissa—her firstborn, at the time.
(Jeff Highsmith)

“People who live in the area are pretty familiar with the case now. Since we’ve been back, we’ve had four different leads that we have someone following up on,” Jeff said of the trip to South Carolina.

MISSING CALFIORNIA MOTHER OF 2 FOUND DEAD, EX-HUSBAND IN CUSTODY: POLICE

Jeff and Melissa’s mother, Alta, who recently separated when she moved to Fort Worth and worked as a waitress in the 1970s, she had placed an ad in the local paper requesting a nanny to take care of Melissa, her firstborn, at the time. A woman responded to the ad and arranged to meet Alta at the restaurant where the young mother worked, but she never showed up.

Later, the prospective babysitter call high and expressed interest in the job, saying that she had a large garden and took care of other children.

TRINITY BACKUS, MISSING CALIFORNIA TEEN, FOUND DEAD, SHERIFF’S OFFICE CONFIRMS

Alta hired the nanny, who picked up the 21-month-old when she was in the care of Alta’s roommate while the young mother was a waitress.

Melissa Highsmith's family provided this photo of her as a baby.  Highsmith disappeared from Fort Worth, Texas on August 23, 1971, when she was only 21 months old.

Melissa Highsmith’s family provided this photo of her as a baby. Highsmith disappeared from Fort Worth, Texas on August 23, 1971, when she was only 21 months old.
(Provided by the family to Fox News Digital)

The roommate told authorities that the woman who picked up Melissa was wearing white gloves, sunglasses and a hat around her head in mid-August in Texas, Jeff explained.

“These things just don’t make sense to me,” she said, adding that her mother’s roommate has not responded to the family’s questions since they met to discuss the case over coffee in 2019.

Melissa Highsmith disappeared when she was 21 months old in 1971.

Melissa Highsmith disappeared when she was 21 months old in 1971.
(Jeff Highsmith)

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Highsmith had not been seen since his mother called the police the day she disappeared in 1971. Jeff has his own theories about what happened and believes that she may have been kidnapped and sold to a foster family, though authorities have not confirmed that narrative.

NCMEC asks anyone with information to contact 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

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