Mum conned after buying twin babies
NEARLY 18 years ago, two innocent baby girls were caught up in a bizarre online adoption racket.
Now, as the twins start university, one of the women who paid thousands for them has spoken out, insisting she should have been allowed to raise them.
In 2001, six-month-old sisters Kiara and Keyara Wecker were sold online by their mother Tranda, then 28, to UK couple Judith and Alan Kilshaw for $14,600 via an internet adoption company Caring Heart Agency.
Known as the "cash for babies" scandal, it took another bizarre turn after it was revealed the infants had already been adopted by an entirely different US family.
That couple - Richard and Vickie Allen - had allegedly paid $7100 for the girls but were duped into handing them back to their birth mother who claimed she wanted to see them for a "final goodbye" - before selling them on to the Kilshaws.
Mr and Mrs Kilshaw, who flew to the US to pick the babies up and renamed them Kimberley and Belinda, were eventually forced to give them up after authorities stepped in.
The twins then returned to the US and went into foster care before being adopted by a third set of parents, where they have remained ever since.
At the time, the saga sparked international outrage, with former UK prime minister Tony Blair even weighing in on the "deplorable" and "disgusting" sale of children and vowing to end the trade.
This week, it was revealed the girls are now 18 and studying social sciences at a US university - but Judith Kilshaw, who has since remarried and is now known as Judith Silett - insists she should have been allowed to keep them.
In an interview with the Mirror, Mrs Silett, a mum-of-four, said she was "pleased they are doing well".
"That is all I have ever really wanted, for them to have a stable life, to have a good life," the 64-year-old insisted.
But she said they should never have been taken away in the first place.
"I think they should have stayed with me and Alan," she told the publication.
"I wonder how they feel, the girls, I wonder if they have been told the truth of what happened.
"I'm glad they have gone to university. I'm glad they are going to prosper and haven't got pregnant at 16 or gone off the rails. I hope they do very well. I wish them all the best."
But she said she believed the UK would have been a better environment for the twins to grow up in.
"It's a shame that they aren't going to university around here. I wished they had stayed in Britain, we have very good universities in Britain," Mrs Silett said.
"I would like to see them again, would like to talk to them on video chat, to see how they are and how they've turned out.
"It would be nice to hear from them and explain who I am and let them know they were wanted."
Mr Kilshaw, 63, is now suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, and Mrs Silett said she would love the girls to visit him before he died.