Society

Woman Who Was Told Baby Died Reunited 50 Years Later

| by Michael Doherty
Zella Jackson Price is reunited with her daughter.Zella Jackson Price is reunited with her daughter.

A woman who was told by hospital staff that her baby had died hours after she was born learned the truth, and finally reunited with her long-lost child.

Zella Jackson Price, a gospel singer from St. Louis, Missouri, said that when she gave birth to a baby, who she named Diane, in 1965, she was told that her daughter had died shortly after her birth. More than 50 years later, Price said Diane's twin daughters contacted her, leading to an emotional reunion, according to Daily Mail.

DNA testing confirmed Diane Gilmore is Price's daughter. An investigation is still ongoing as to how the separation happened after Gilmore's premature birth.

Price was only six months pregnant when she went into labor at Homer G. Phillips Hospital, according to ABC News. "They said, 'Oh, mother, you're so early. What happened?'" Price recalled. "They said, 'She's lost a lot of water,' and they put me in a room to the side."

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After her daughter was born, Price said a nurse came in to the room to take her baby. "I didn't never have a chance [to hold her]," said Price. "They asked me, 'Did you want to name her?' I said, 'Yes, her name is Diane.'"

Price said that a few hours later, the nurse returned and told her that Diane had died. According to Price, the staff didn't ask if she wanted to bury her baby.

Other women who gave birth at the same hospital have come forward to say they believe their babies were stolen, even though DNA testing has not found matches for the other cases. Price's attorney, Albert Watkins, said that around the time Diane was born, babies were being sold in the hospital's parking lot.

Authorities have questioned Price's story, citing adoption records that dispute the singer's claim her baby was stolen. The Associated Press obtained a letter stating that Diane was never stolen, but instead that Price had abandoned her daughter. The letter also said the child had been born in a different hospital, not Homer G. Phillips.

"That's the biggest lie ever told," Price said in response, adding that the letter contained inaccuracies about her age and details about Diane's father. "I have five other children. They're all spoiled like they were only children. Why would I give up this one?"

Watkins said the letter and records could have been falsified in an attempt to cover up the theft of Price's baby.

A spokesman for the St. Louis health department said the department has received almost 300 inquiries from women who believe their babies were also stolen by the hospital staff.

Sources: Daily Mail (2), ABC News / Photo credit: KTVI via Daily Mail

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