Mom reunited with daughter 50 years after being told she died

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Zella Jackson Price meets her daughter, Melanie Diane Gilmore, face to face for the first time.

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OLIVETTE, MO (KTVI) – An Olivette family is the subject of a story full of joy and mystery.

Forty-nine years ago, a woman was told her daughter had died just after hours after being born. But on Thursday, the mother and daughter were reunited — and both very much alive.

Zella Jackson Price, 76, met her daughter, Melanie Diane Gilmore, in person for the first time at Price’s home in Olivette.

“There’s nothing greater. There’s nothing greater than this. Nothing,” Price said.

Melanie arrived with her own daughter and son at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport from Oregon. That’s also where Melanie met her brother, Harvey, for the first time.

Their story begins at the old Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis. Shortly after delivering her baby, Zella Price was told the infant died. But Melanie was alive and for some unknown reason, she adopted by another family.

Zella Price said she is hurt by the years of separation, but is thankful for this second chance.

“(God) has given me everything the devil has taken from me,” Price said. “I’m getting it back. I’m getting my baby back.”

Gilmore lost her hearing at the age of three because of a childhood illness. This reunion is something she has wanted for a long time.

“I am just so happy…very excited,” she said.

Gilmore’s children knew about their mom’s wish. They used the Internet and eventually found Zella Price. DNA testing confirmed Zella is Melanie’s mother.

Zella may be familiar to many people. She’s an accomplished gospel singer. She and Melanie are now meeting new family members.

It’s a joyful time now as family members get to know each other, but soon they will begin an investigation into what happened at the hospital.

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