She wasn’t his to give away, but he earned it anyway.
Most brides dream of taking that sacred walk towards the altar locked arm-in-arm with their dad — but one woman chose to share that special moment with two men who raised her: father and abductor.
“It was such a beautiful day,” newlywed Miche Zephany Sheldon, 26, from Cape Town, South Africa, told SWNS of her March 21, 2023 nuptials. “I’m so glad [my real dad] opened his heart to walk alongside [the husband of my abductor] down the aisle.”
Just three days after being born to her biological parents on April 27, 1997, Sheldon was stolen out of her crib in the maternity unit of Groote Schur Hospital by a woman named Lavona Solomon.
Lavona, who’d been grappling with infertility issues around the time of Sheldon’s birth, disguised herself as a nurse and nabbed the baby to raise with her husband, Michael, as their own.
Growing up, Sheldon had no clue that Lavona and Michael were not her mother and father at birth.
Sheldon was 17 years old in 2015 when a new student named Cassidy — who was nearly her spitting image — began attending her high school. That’s when the truth of her identity began to unfold.
Owing to their almost identical looks, a school social worker arranged for the teen girls to take a DNA test. The results proved that Sheldon and Cassidy were biological sisters.
On February 25, 2015, Sheldon was finally reunited with her birth parents. But, for her, the homecoming wasn’t the Hollywood ending she’d expected.
“It was extremely difficult because you’ve grown up thinking this is your family,” said Sheldon of presumed parents Lavona and Michael.
“Meeting my biological parents … there wasn’t that connection,” she continued. “I was looking for it — but it just wasn’t there in the beginning. I’d been raised by Lavona and Michael my whole life.”
And acrimony between the two sets of parents only exacerbated the already awkward reunion.
“Both families were just so harsh with each other, as well,” said Sheldon.
“I really had to adjust to having two different dads in my life,” she added of Michael and her blood father, Morne Nurse. “But I knew I’d want them both walking me down the aisle whenever I got married.”
In Sheldon’s case, her lawbreaking mother wasn’t included in her big-day festivities either.
Lavona was arrested in connection to the abduction. She was sentenced to 10 years at the Worcester Female Prison in Breede Valley, South Africa. She’s slated for release on August 18.
And although Sheldon has severed ties with her faux mom in light of her incarceration, she doesn’t hold any ill-will against the baby burglar.
“I don’t see the mom who raised me as criminal and evil,” insisted Sheldon. “Everyone just got hurt in the process. We all just needed to heal.”
Sheldon’s healing process began when she met her now-husband Justin, a 32-year-old teacher, at church.
In 2021, after two years of dating, Sheldon — who’d welcomed children Sophia, 6, and Matteo, 4, during a previous relationship — shared the sordid story of her kidnapping with Justin. He was “shocked but empathetic,” and has continued to support Sheldon as she establishes new bonds with both of her fathers.
Morne, on the other hand, wasn’t thrilled with his daughter’s decision to include Michael in her wedding.
“My biological dad wasn’t too happy at first. But this day was all about me and my relationship with my husband,” she asserted. “But eventually, he said yes for me. It was a miracle!.”
And the miracle is still working it’s magic between the once opposed papas.
“The relationship between my two families is improving,” said Sheldon.
“They do get along now. We’ve all matured, realized we’re human and are finally coming to terms with what happened,” she added.
“We show mutual respect to one another, and we’re all very understanding.”