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Is Dying For a Daughter Based on a True Story?

November 7, 2020
4 min read

Lifetime’s ‘Dying For a Daughter’ is a thriller film that centers around Samantha and her family, whose lives are in imminent danger because of an unhinged and deadly woman who believes herself to be the birth mother of Samantha’s adopted daughter. The film stars Brittany Underwood, Melanie Nelson, Brandon Ray Olive, and Scarlett Roselynn in pivotal roles. It is written and directed by Fred Olen Ray. We were curious to know if the film is based on a true story, so we did a little digging, and here is what we found out.

What is Dying For a Daughter About?

Samantha and her 10-year-old daughter Cassie are in a terrible car accident, which Samantha survives with barely a few scratches, but Cassie is seriously injured and is bed-ridden. To make matters worse, Sam and her husband Tom, who already did not have the best relationship in the world, are further distanced after the accident.

To give herself time to work on her strained marriage, Sam hires a full-time live-in caregiver for Cassie. But the new nurse is Margaret, a woman who believes that she is Cassie’s birth mother and will stop at nothing to claim Cassie as her own biological daughter.

Is Dying For a Daughter Based on a True Story?

No, ‘Dying For a Daughter’ is not based on any true story. Although we couldn’t find any real case wherein a homicidal birth mother posed as house help to kidnap her child from the adoptive parents, we did find numerous cases of child abduction wherein babies in their infancy were stolen from the hospital, within hours to a few days of their birth. In some cases, the babies were reunited with their biological parents years later after they had grown up, raised by their kidnappers. Here are a few examples!

In April 1997, a South African woman, Zephany Nurs, was kidnapped as a new-born baby from the hospital by a woman posing as a nurse. She was raised by the very woman who had abducted her, and seventeen years later, in a twist of fate, Zephany ended up at the same school as her biological sister, who is four years her junior. The girls immediately formed a friendship. The younger girl told her parents that their friends at school always commented on the striking physical similarities between her and Zephany.

Therefore, her parents asked to meet the older girl. They also felt, looking at her, that she was the same baby who was stolen from them years ago and contacted the investigating authorities. When the fake parents of Zephany failed to provide a birth certificate for her, the authorities proceeded to perform DNA tests, which confirmed her actual parentage and reunited the Nurse family with their long-lost daughter.

Another incident is the kidnapping of Kamiyah Mobley in 1998, who was also taken from the hospital as a new-born infant. The perpetrator, Gloria Williams, confessed to kidnapping Kamiyah from a Jacksonville hospital in 1998, scared that she would never be able to have a child after suffering multiple miscarriages. So she chose the path seldom taken and sucked all the happiness out of the lives of Kamiyah’s biological parents.

The judge gave her 18 years in prison, exactly the amount of time she took away from Kamiyah’s parents of raising their daughter. The birth parents were reunited with their daughter Kamiyah, who took some time to process that the mother she had known all her life was, in fact, her kidnapper. But ultimately, this story is a happy ending too.

We also found the story of Carlina White quite fascinating. At the age of 23, Carlina White (raised as Nejdra “Netty” Nance) wanted to get health insurance for herself and her baby daughter, so she asked her mother for her birth certificate. Her mother, Annugetta “Ann” Pettway, was unable to provide an authentic birth certificate, which led to Carlina confronting her mother.

Carlina had started suspecting that Ann was not really her mother ever since she had been a teenager, so the truth of her kidnapping did not come as a shock to her. In the end, Ann received 12 years in prison, and Carlina was reunited with her birth parents, Joy White and Carl Tyson. Although none of the above-mentioned stories bear a striking resemblance to the film’s plot, it does convey how circumstances and personal greed can destroy a happy family.

Read More: Where Was Dying For a Daughter Filmed?

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