Twin girls seized after being sold online ‘still want nothing to do with mum’

It was a case that shocked the world, prompting an FBI investigation and a vow from Prime Minister Tony Blair that it would never happen again.

The online sale of adorable twins to two different couples sparked a transatlantic battle in 2001 which ultimately resulted in neither being allowed to keep the babies.

Now, 20 years to the day since Kiara and Keyara Wecker were removed from a UK hotel and taken into care, where are the girls now – and what became of the mum who gave them up for cash?

Tranda Wecker was 28 and a mother of five when she put her four-month-old twins up for adoption.

They were adopted by Richard and Vickie Allen, a Californian couple who agreed to pay £4,000 for the babies.

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Eight weeks later Tranda popped over for one final visit, saying she'd take the girls out for the day to say goodbye. She never returned.

Tranda had found a better offer – a UK couple who were prepared to pay £8,200 via an adoption agency for Kiara and Keyara.

Alan and Judith Kilshaw flew to San Diego on December 1, 2000, where they met the babies for the first time and took them back to their hotel.

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Two days later Vickie Allen's brother arrived and confronted the Brits, demanding they hand the girls back.

The Kilshaws quickly packed up and went to Arkansas where the adoption process was completed in a five-minute hearing, then took the twins (renamed Kymberley and Belinda) back to their home in Buckley, Wales.

By then social services had been alerted to the bizarre custody battle and on the night of January 19, 2001, social workers and police officers turned up at the Beaufort Park Hotel in Mold, Flintshire where the Kilshaws were holed up with the babies.

Under an emergency protection order, Kiara and Keyara were taken from their adoptive parents after a tense three-hour standoff and placed into care.

In the weeks that followed the FBI was involved in looking into how the girls had been sold online to two different couples, while Tony Blair promised to ban the "deplorable" babies-for-cash trade.

Meanwhile, the Allens begged Tranda not to go through the courts and to return the babies to the California home where they'd spent a third of their young lives.

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They even appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show where they confronted the Kilshaws, who also wanted the girls back.

A court in Missouri awarded custody of the twins to Aaron Wecker, their biological father who said Tranda had neglected his daughters by trying to sell them over the internet.

Tranda herself even attempted to get the babies back but was unsuccessful.

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However after the girls were eventually returned to the US, they were placed with a brand-new adoptive family in Missouri where they were once again given different names which have never been made public.

In 2018 their adoptive mum, also remaining anonymous, told the Mirror the twins have grown into "fine young women with their own dreams and ambitions" who are now studying at university.

"Nothing will hold them back from their goals," the 56-year-old said.

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"From the day they were brought to us they have been raised with unconditional love.

"God blessed them into our care and we are forever grateful."

Meanwhile, Tranda Wecker, reportedly unable to hold down a stable job, did not attempt to contact her daughters again until 2006 when she launched another failed bid for access.

"The contact the girls have with Tranda is down to them," their mum said.

"But Keyara doesn't want anything to do with her."

She said the twins worked hard in school, excelled in music and sports and have grown up to have distinct personalities, with Keyara more outgoing and Kiara more reserved.

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