The Changeling: A Case of Arrested Development


tags: NSW, missing person, fake identity,

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By Aaron B. Power

From the September 2018 issue of the APJ.

Harper Hart was thin and pretty with a cluster of freckles spreading like chocolate 100’s & 1000’s under both eyes and meeting under her nose. She spoke with an American accent and allegedly came from the American state of California. The 13-year-old girl was attempting to gain admittance to the Good Shepherd School at Marrickville, which was a school set aside for students with “special needs”. The minor was being sponsored by her foster family in Burwood, a suburb located in south western Sydney. This foster family had allegedly met the young lady on the street and, feeling sorry for her, had taken her in. 

There seemed to be no issue until the school asked for the required student identification for enrollment. The 13-year-old was then withdrawn from school citing illness, only to return a month later with a medical certificate from a hospital in north west Sydney and a Californian birth certificate.

However, a closer look at the birth certificate seemed to demonstrate that the child was in fact not a transient that the couple had found roaming the streets, but was instead the natural daughter by birth of the foster couple.

Other cryptic stories also emanated from both the child and the couple ranging from her being the victim of human trafficking, to her being in a United States-(US)-based Witness Protection Program. Other strange street fables circulated that ranged from Harper having been raped by a serving police officer to her being sponsored by a wealthy US attorney, who allegedly left mysterious messages on the foster parent’s computer that disappeared overnight. Also, the foster parents had stipulated that under no circumstances could the school photograph the child. Harper also allegedly suffered from potentially fatal food allergies, to an extent that was yet to be determined. When later questioned by social workers as to what items she was actually allergic to, she replied that she was allergic to “planet earth”. 

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