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Colburn mother fears daughter was stolen by Spanish baby traffickers
A MOTHER who was told her daughter had died hours after birth now fears she was stolen to be sold to adoptive parents as part of a huge Spanish baby-trafficking scandal.
New evidence has come to light suggesting criminal baby trafficking – that many thought had died with General Franco - continued up to the late 1990s, with an estimated 300,000 babies sold for adoption by a network of doctors, nurses and nuns.
Ruth Appleby, 49, from Colburn, near Richmond, lived in La Coruna, northern Spain, with her now former husband Howard for ten years, and in 1992 baby Rebecca was born by Caesarean section at the Hospital Materno Infantil Teresa Herrera.
The next day she was told her baby had died, despite Howard seeing the apparently healthy new-born in the early hours of the morning.
Twenty years after coming to terms with her daughter’s death, Ms Appleby is now convinced her baby did not die, and is fighting for answers from the Spanish legal system.
Police in both Spain and Britain are investigating and Foreign Secretary William Hague is also supporting Ms Appleby’s quest for the truth.
She said: “I am now waiting to hear about the next stage of the investigation.
“It has been very frustrating because the case has been closed twice by a judge – but I am in contact with a very supportive Spanish police inspector who still believes there is hope.
“In the meantime I am compiling all the evidence I can, including hiring a forensic expert in Spain to put together an official report with the help of a doctor and anthropologist.”
Newborns were stolen during General Franco’s regime from parents considered politically dangerous and given to couples considered more suitable.
After the dictator’s death in 1975, it is claimed the system carried out with children changing hands for about £5,000 from adoptive parents.
Ms Appleby said: “Just knowing she is alive would mean the world to me – but I also want these evil people brought to justice.”