Search for mum uncovers startling twist
An Australian woman has uncovered a shocking family secret while searching for her biological mother in Zimbabwe.
36 years ago Abigail Prangs was taken from Harare Hospital, driven four kilometres and abandoned in bush near the Magambuzi River.
"I was dumped outside of the hospital, I was just literally wrapped in a towel, with my cord cut," Ms Prangs told Sunday Night True Stories.
"Someone in that hospital has done something and, for some reason, has dumped me."
Ms Prangs was rescued by a cyclist and taken to an orphanage where she was labelled "baby unknown".
But in a heartwarming turn of events Ms Prangs was adopted by Mike and Kathy Prangs, the only parents she has even known.
At the age of seven Ms Prangs and her parents moved halfway across the world where she grew up a "typical Aussie kid".
Now living on Queensland's Sunshine Coast Ms Prangs is married to Ty Hill and the couple have four children: Ama'rhi, Ziah, Koko and Jeriah.
Becoming a mother has only made Ms Prangs more determined to find her own mum, and she soon became increasingly obsessed with tracking down her biological parents.
"It was mentally draining, emotionally draining and just time-consuming," Ms Prangs said.
"Obviously, I've got a family at home, and I was staying up till 2.00, 3.00 in the morning every night."
Determined, Ms Prangs began her search and started asking questions, with an anonymous hospital worker giving her a list of the mothers who gave birth on the day she was born.
From there an army of volunteers in Zimbabwe helped track down women on the registry and they soon discovered a woman Edna.
Edna said she gave birth to twins on the day Ms Prangs was born, but one of the babies mysteriously vanished, with a midwife claiming the child was stillborn.
Wanting to find out the truth, Ms Prangs underwent a DNA test using a sample from one of Edna's daughters Loraine.
The results come back positive; Ms Prangs is related to Loraine, with all signs pointing to Edna being her natural mother.
"(I felt) relief, I guess, to know that I wasn't dumped after all," Ms Prangs said.
With Edna unwell, Ms Prangs decided to make the journey to Zimbabwe to meet her and the family shared an emotional first meeting.
"I think it's probably as a family one of the most important days of my life," Ms Prangs said.
"I now know where I'm from. I know, I'm complete now. I wasn't before.
"I had this hole of not knowing who I was from, you know, not knowing where I was from."
Ms Prangs then visited the hospital where she was born and speaks to a staff member, who believes the only "inescapable" conclusion was that she was taken by a hospital employee.
But from there, things became complicated.
Edna and Ms Prangs agreed to another round of DNA testing which came back with unexpected results, with reporter Matt Doran left to break the news.
"I don't know how I tell you this, I guess, but … we got the results of the latest DNA test," Doran said, visibly emotional.
"So, the latest result says this … 'The probability of maternity is zero per cent'."
Devastated by the mix-up, Doran and Ms Prangs are left with one glaring question - was the first DNA test wrong?
Searching for the truth, Doran tracked down the director of DNA testing company Global DNA, Tinashe Mugabe, and a tense interview followed.
"Do you understand you are playing with a young woman's life?" Doran asked. "This is a young woman's life you are messing with here, sir."
No, no, no, no. We helped her," Mr Mugabe replied.
After the interview things took a dark turn - police accompanied by Mr Mugabe come to take Doran and Sunday Night crew from their hotel to the station.
What followed was a tense night in jail based on false allegations from Mr Mugabe that Doran and his crew tried to kidnap the businessman.
But the allegations were proven false when Sunday Night shared the footage from their interview with police which showed Mr Mugabe driving away freely from the interview.
Released by the police and the charges dropped, Sunday Night commissioned their own independent testing so Ms Prangs could find out the truth.
The results came back confirming Edna was not Ms Prangs' mother, however, it did prove Loraine was her cousin.
This meant almost certainly one of Edna's four sisters was secretly Ms Prangs' biological mother, but no-one was forthcoming with information.
Determined to find out the truth, Ms Prangs believed the startling physical similarities between her and Edna's sister Elizabeth made her the most likely possibility.
But her suspicions pointed to a heartbreaking secret - Elizabeth would have been only 14 when Ms Prangs was born.
When Ms Prangs confronted her, Elizabeth's repeated denials hinted at a decades-hidden past trauma.
Things became even more troubling when Ms Prangs' conversation with Elizabeth was cut short when the older woman was suddenly ushered into a ute and spirited away.
"That was one of the most intense discussions I've ever had in my life," Ms Prangs told Sunday Night.
"I basically said to her, 'I believe that you're my mother' … I felt a connection with this woman."
Despite her determination Ms Prangs will probably never know for sure which one of Edna's four sisters is her mother - Elizabeth to this day refuses to take a DNA test.
But Ms Prangs, her husband and four children have been greeted with open arms by her Zimbabwean relatives.
"I feel she is my sister," Loraine said of her long-lost Australian relative.
Watch Ms Prangs' story in full on 7plus