The Secrets She Keeps is based on the stranger-than-fiction real-life kidnapping of Abbie Humphries back in 1994, who was stolen at birth and was missing for 17 days before she was found safe and unharmed with 22-year-old Julie Kelley.
Abbie now lives in Australia, works in the beauty industry and is happily married to husband Karloss Sundgren. She was unaware that the drama was based on her own story, and revealed that she had sat down to watch it before becoming aware that it was about her own kidnapping. Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, she said: “As I am sure you can imagine, this does bring up a lot of emotions for my family.”
Abbie’s parents in a news conference after her kidnapping in 1994
Abbie previously spoke about her experience back in 2017, telling the Nottingham Post: “My parents told me all about it as I grew up, but not all in one go. It came out in bits and pieces, part of the family conversation really.
“We had moved to New Zealand when I realised how big it all was. We were unpacking all the boxes and I saw the press cuttings. That’s when I realised what a huge deal it was. But it didn’t stir up any emotions of horror or anything. To be honest, I thought it was rather cool.”
She was kidnapped by Julie Kelley, who faked her pregnancy and pretended Abbie was hers
She added: “I learned how hard the police worked looking for me — perhaps that’s why I’ve been thinking about joining up. Maybe I’ll end up as a detective.”
Speaking about the moment she was reunited with her baby girl, Abbie’s mum Karen said: “I knew immediately that she was mine. She had lost a lot of weight but you couldn’t miss that shock of blonde hair she had been born with. But it was more than that: I just knew this was my baby.”
Like in the BBC drama, Julie had told her friends and neighbours that she was expecting a child and faked her pregnancy before pretending that she’d given birth to baby Abbie. However, she previously told them it was a boy, leading for them to be suspicious when she announced that she’d had a girl instead.
The shocking true story is the basis of The Secret She Keeps
Her neighbour, Naznin Khokhar, said: “We were a bit surprised because she had said she’d had a scan and was told there would be a boy. When she told us she’d had a girl, she said: ‘Thank goodness we didn’t buy any boy’s clothes after the scan.’ My brother and sister said they were suspicious and they kept saying: ‘They’ve got baby Abbie’, but I just thought they had overactive imaginations.” Julie was arrested and put on probation on the condition that she was treated for a severe personality disorder.
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