true crime

In 2015, Miché met a girl who looked just like her. She had been abducted 17 years earlier.

Miché Solomon knew who her family was, the same way she knew which way is up and which way is down. She believed what she had been told, and never had the remotest reason to question it. Until, one day…

At 17, from Cape Town in South Africa, Miché had an ostensibly loving mother and father who were caring and kind – they would often call her “Princess”.

During a school day in January 2015, though, a similar-looking girl, Cassidy Nurse, started class with her at Cape Town’s Zwaanswyk High School.

The two instantly became friends, partly bonding over their almost identical features.

“I almost felt like I knew her,” she told BBC in 2019. “It was so scary – I couldn’t understand why I was feeling like this.”

Their friendship blossomed, and they sometimes even called each other ‘Sis’.

One day they took a seemingly innocuous selfie together, in which their similarities were striking. One friend, upon seeing the photo, even joked that Miché must have been adopted.

When Cassidy showed the photo to her parents, Celeste and Morne Nurse, they wanted to know one thing: What is Miché’s birthday?

Blood & Water true story
Miché Solomon and Cassidy Nurse. Image: Social.

Celeste and Morne Nurse had an irreplaceable hole in their family. 17 years earlier, Celeste Nurse gave birth to her first child, a daughter, Zephany Nurse.

Zephany Nurse spent the first few days of her life in the hands of her mother at Groote Schuur Hospital. But at three-days-old, Zephany was gone; missing from her hospital bed with no trace.

Every year, the Nurse family celebrated Zephany's birthday, without any knowledge of where she was, or if she was even still alive.

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So, when they saw that photo of Miché Solomon, looking eerily similar to their other daughter, they had to ask.

"Were you born on 30 April 1997?" Cassidy asked Miché, as she recalled to the BBC.

Miché answered yes.

Weeks passed before two social workers asked Miché to come to the headmaster's office. There, she was told the story of Zephany Nurse, the girl who had been abducted 17 years earlier.

For Miché, though, it was simply inconceivable that she could be Zephany. She conceded to taking a DNA test, but was confident they had the wrong girl.

"I had so much belief in the mother who raised me - she would never lie to me, especially about who I am and where I come from," Miché told the publication. "So my mind was made up that the DNA test was going to be negative."

The test results were irrefutable: Miché Solomon was Zephany Nurse.

"I sat there in shock," Miché recalls.

She was instantly transferred to a safe house, unable to return home to the people who had raised her. It was three months before her 18th birthday, when she would legally be capable of making her own decisions.

Blood & Water true story
Zephany Nurse's biological mother Celeste Nurse outside the Cape Town High Court on February 23, 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa. Image: Getty.

Lavona Solomon, the woman accused of abducting Zephany Nurse all those years ago, was taken into custody.

Miché was frustrated that she could not speak to the woman she knew as her mother, telling BBC, "I needed her".

"I needed to ask her, 'Why? What's going on?' I was so overwhelmed that I belonged to someone else."

The man Miché knew as her father denied any involvement, and expressed bewilderment at the accusations when interviewed by police. There was no evidence of his involvement, and he insisted his wife, Lavona Solomon, had been pregnant.

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For her biological parents, it was an overwhelmingly emotional event being reunited with their first daughter. But for Miché, she "felt nothing".

After turning 18, she decided to move back in with the man she had always known to be her father, Michael.

The woman she thought was her mother, Lavona, was jailed for 10 years for kidnapping, fraud and violating the Children's Act.

Miché still visits her in jail.

"She still says that she didn't do it, but I think she did," Miché told BBC.

Miché's abduction story is harrowing and haunting. It's also speculated to be the loose basis for Netflix's new series, Blood & Water.

Watch the trailer for Netflix's Blood & Water here. Post continues below video.

Video by Mamamia

The six-episode series focuses on 16-year-old Puleng Khumalo who is searching for her sister, who she knows was abducted at birth, 17 years earlier. She enrolls herself in a new school, where she meets a girl who she believes to be her missing sister.

Whilst the producers say it is not based on a true story, the plot is certainly familiar to Miché's experience.

In 2019, Miché wrote a book about her extraordinary story, titled: Zephany: Two mothers. One daughter.

The book is dedicated to her two mothers.

Miché explained her struggle with identity and how she has reconciled with who she is to the BBC.

"I think I hated Zephany in the beginning," she explained.

"She came with such force, such an uninvited invitation, so much suffering and so much pain. But Zephany is the truth and Miché, the 17-year-old girl that I was, she was a lie. So I've managed to balance both names. You can call me Zephany or Miché, it's fine."


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