20 years after being kidnapped, woman found by Ermelo Police

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Ermelo police have finally located a woman taken 20 years ago, just after birth. 

Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, police spokesperson, tells that a 16-year-old girl gave birth to her baby daughter at Ermelo Provincial Hospital on 23 March 2001. The new mother and her newborn were both discharged and permitted to go home during the day.

On their journey home to Breyten with the baby’s aunt, they met a woman who offered the mother aid because she was experiencing pain and dizziness. At the time, the infant’s aunt was at a nearby store.

Brigadier Mohlala adds that after a little while, the said woman reportedly took the baby, promised to return and went towards the direction where the aunt headed to. The aunt returned, but the woman in question did not. Shortly after that, the mother and her companion realised the woman had taken her baby.

“The incident was then reported to the police at Ermelo and a case of child abduction was opened. Police commenced with their search but there was no information that came forth until on 29 November 2021 when the team of Investigators got some leads into their investigation.”

Police conducted forensic testing and obtained DNA samples, with the results proving to be a breakthrough in the child abduction case all these years later. “A 50-year-old woman was then arrested and charged accordingly, as she is alleged to have been the one behind the said incident that occurred 20 years back.”

On 30 November 2021, the female suspect appeared in the Ermelo Magistrates Court. After receiving R1000 bail, her case was postponed to 18 January 2022. 

Meanwhile, the kidnapped baby, now a young woman herself, has been kept in a place of safety. According to Brigadier Mohlala, she will now receive psychological counselling and be reunited with her biological family soon.

“The name of the suspect is withheld for the protection of the victim’s identity,” Brigadier Mohlahla highlights.

Lieutenant General Semakaleng Manamela, the Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, has taken advantage of this long-awaited breakthrough and warned parents to never put their children’s safety in the hands of strangers, no matter how sincere someone may appear to be.

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