Relatives on Monday 9 September said a Makhanda (Grahamstown) school pupil who yesterday posted on Facebook that she’d been kidnapped had been found. Police this morning confirmed this.
Concern and speculation followed a post on Facebook on Sunday 8 September after the 15-year-old, who lives in Joza, posted a detailed and disturbing account.
According to a post on the child’s Facebook page, while she was on her way to the shop, a silver-grey Avanza with no number plates had stopped next to her. The driver, an African female with two other African males who had a Zulu accent had asked for directions to Extension 7, the 15-year-old posted. She’d directed them, but the driver had asked her to come with them to show them and she’d obliged. After driving with her towards Ntsika Secondary School, she’d asked at a traffic light where they were going and had been ordered to shut up. The vehicle had stopped at an unknown place and she’d been forced inside the boot where she’d seen another girl.
South African Police Spokesperson for Grahamstown Captain Mali Govender last night said a case of kidnapping had been opened for investigation after the matter was reported at Joza SAPS.
“According to the aunt of the kidnapped [child], the victim was sent by her grandmother to the shop,” Govender said. “She was wearing a white top, black tights and pink sandals. A case of kidnapping was opened as well as a missing person enquiry.”
The number of the investigating officer and CrimeStop were provided for anyone with information about the child’s whereabouts.
This morning, Govender confirmed the missing teen had been found in Port Elizabeth unharmed.
“She is being accompanied by our specialist investigators of the Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offence unit to Grahamstown,” Govender said. “The missing person inquiry will now be closed off; however the investigation into the kidnapping will continue.”
A number of social media users reposted the child’s Facebook post, with pleas to help find her. Others raised doubts about its veracity, based on details such as that an Avanza has no boot, and that there are no traffic lights near Ntsika Secondary School.
However, the police said they were treating it seriously until the child was found. On Sunday night, Govender said, “We are currently verifying the information. We are continuing with our investigation.”
A local relative on Monday said the teen had been found. This was confirmed later by the police.
- Updated at 1pm on Monday 9 September with confirmation from police that the child was found.