Renion in April 2015 between Zella Jackson Price and her biological daughter Melanie Gilmore
KTVI screenshot  

Eighteen women who were told decades ago by officials of a St. Louis hospital that their newborns had died now wonder if the infants were stolen at birth, reports the Associated Press.

The questions come after the dramatic reunion last month between Zella Jackson Price and her biological daughter Melanie Gilmore after nearly 50 years.

Price, who was 26 in 1965 when she gave birth to Gilmore, said that officials at Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis told her that her newborn had died, the report says. She never saw a body or death certificate.

In fact, Gilmore, who now lives in Eugene, Ore., ended up in foster care and was always told by her adoptive parents that she had been given up by her birth mother, the report says.

But they were reunited after Gilmore's children tracked down Price to mark their mother's 50th birthday. The search led them to the now 76-year-old Price, who lives in suburban St. Louis, notes AP.


News of the emotional reunion sparked other mothers whose newborns also allegedly died mysteriously at the now-closed hospital during the same era.

Now Price's attorney, Albert Watkins, is asking city and state officials to investigate the mothers' claims. Watkins said in a letter to Missouri's governor that he suspects the hospital was engaged in a scheme "to steal newborns of color for marketing in private adoption transactions," notes the report.

The Missouri Department of Health and Human Services called the allegations "troubling" in a letter to Watkins and pledged to help him track down relevant documents it might have, such as birth and death certificates, the report says.

Read more at the Associated Press.