In order to provide some clarification and background in this new development on the Sharon Marshall case, I wanted to organize the various elements in the case of Melissa Highsmith. I am posting this here as well as the Sharon Marshall forum as the sisters of Melissa, not yet born when she disappeared, are now actively searching for any information and assistance available. In August of 1971, Alta Highsmith was a 22 year-old divorced single parent, trying to raise her 21-month old daughter Melissa. Alta had taken a job as a waitress at a restaurant in their hometown of Ft Worth. On the morning of August 25th, at about 7:30 am, a woman who had answered an ad for a babysitter arrived at the apartment Alta shared with a roommate. The woman, described by Alta as "real nice", with "three kids of her own and a big fenced-in yard with a gym set and swings", took Melissa and her clothing. The babysitter failed to return Melissa by 8:00 pm that evening, so Alta called the police. At the time, Alta stated "maybe the woman was just lonely and wanted a child". The Fort Worth police in turn contacted the FBI. A composite drawing of the babysitter was circulated. Several leads, many from out of state, were received but none "panned out". Alta made several public pleas for the return of Melissa. Investigators initially agreed that the girl was taken by a woman with "maternal instincts", but as weeks went by they developed doubts about this theory. Alta was given a polygraph test at the request of investigators. The investigation seemed to center on Alta and her ex-husband, who had since moved to Illinois. No arrests were ever made in Melissa's disappearance, and no serious leads were ever developed. WS member Hollow came across several articles from a Texas paper detailing Melissa's disappearance. Knowing of my intense interest in the Sharon Marshall case, she forwarded the articles to me. I researched the case, contacting both the Fort Worth PD and the Dallas bureau of the FBI. I was highly intrigued, due to several factors. First, the time frame. Though Franklin Floyd, kidnapper of the girl known as Sharon Marshall, was in prison at the time Melissa disappeared, it has long been theorized that someone else kidnapped Sharon and later gave he to Floyd. The age is correct-Melissa was 21-months old in '71, and Sharon was approximately 6 in 1975. The first record of Sharon was when Floyd registered her into an Oklahoma elementary school under the name Suzanne Davis (Melissa's middle name is Suzanne). Neither the Fort Worth PD or FBI were able to provide any assistance. I then discovered Alta's present address on a website and mailed her letter. At about the same time, by coincidence, fate, or divine intervention, Alta's youngest daughter "Googled" Melissa's name and found the discussion of her under the Sharon Marshall forum. At that time, her older sister Rebecca posted on the forum. We made contact, discussing some of the various details of Melissa's disappearance and the mystery surrounding Sharon. Rebecca informed me that Melissa had brown hair and hazel eyes. To me, this did not immediately eliminate her as a possible match to Sharon, who had blonde hair and blue eyes. (There are later photos of Sharon with brown hair, and so little is known of her earlier life-beside her abuse at the hands of Floyd-that we can't know anything for certain). Matt Birkbeck, author of A Beautiful Child, also saw Rebecca's post. He and Rebecca have also made contact. Matt has expressed interest in facillitating DNA testing comparison between Sharon and members of Melissa's family. Rebecca is working to collect photos of Melissa for comparison and other information from her parents. Regardless of whether Melissa is a match to Sharon, this girl deserves to have her story known. She may still be out there, with no idea who she really is. I have discussed with Rebecca the need to have Melissa listed with the various missing persons' organizations, such as the NCMEC, Doe Network, Charley Project, and the Texas Missing Persons Clearinghouse.