A private investigator who specialises in tracing missing children, Wendy Pascoe, described the abduction of Amy-Lee de Jager as “beyond strange”.
Four men kidnapped the girl, aged six, shortly before 8am on Monday morning near Kollegepark Laerskool in Vanderbijlpark, bundling her into a white Toyota Fortuner before speeding off.
The men allegedly pushed her five-year-old brother, Jayden, aside to get to the girl. Later they contacted Amy-Lee’s father, Wynand de Jager, telephonically with a ransom demand of R2m.
The abduction spurred police to launch a province-wide manhunt, calling in hostage negotiators and tracing teams, augmented by the crime intelligence unit.
“At this stage the police have hostage negotiators and crime intelligence working on the matter, and I have handed over to them. When the call came through, we began assisting the police station, as we do with other cases of missing children,” Pascoe told TimesLIVE.
“This is not something we usually see with kidnappings. This is not an everyday occurrence and I don’t want to say too much. What is odd is that the vehicle wasn’t taken but the child was. Usually, when children go missing in circumstances like this, it is because they are caught up in an effort to steal a car,” she said.
Another curious aspect of the case, Pascoe said, was that the abductors seemed to have targeted Amy-Lee specifically.
“The men paid no attention to the other children at the school, and that should tell us they were waiting for Amy-Lee,” she said.
Meanwhile, ER24 paramedics were summoned to the Vanderbijlpark police station on Monday afternoon, where parents and hostage negotiators had been meeting since the morning.
ER24 spokesman Russel Meiring said that paramedics were called out to assess Amy-Lee’s parents, with her mom complaining of shoulder pain after her child was wrenched from her arms. Both parents’ vital signs were checked and were stable, and neither required further treatment.
A family friend who was at the police station to support the family, Shaun Douglas, described Amy-Lee as a lovable child.
“She loves giving hugs and drawing pictures,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Gauteng education department has expressed “shock” at what happened to Amy-Lee. It said it was supporting pupils and parents.
“We have sent our psychosocial unit to the school to offer the necessary support and counselling to all affected by this unfortunate incident. Some parents took their children home. A parents’ meeting is scheduled for later this afternoon to help allay fears,” the department’s spokesman Steve Mabona said.
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said: “We call upon members of the public to not disrupt our schools and instil fear in children. Learners must feel safe in the school environment, which is conducive for effective learning and teaching.
“The safety of learners and teachers is our priority. Under the circumstances, the situation is calm. However, we will continue to monitor the situation.”
Watch: Teddy Mafia’s son-in-law targeted in Shallcross drive-by shooting
Kesavan Isaac Naidoo, the son-in-law of slain alleged Durban drug boss “Teddy Mafia” has survived a brazen attempted assassination on Wednesday, his family confirmed.
The incident took place at about 10am in Shallcross, south of Durban.
Naidoo, 41, is the son-in-law of Yaganathan Pillay – also known as Teddy Mafia.
He was shot twice in a daylight hit on Table Mountain Drive. The incident was captured on CCTV.
“Isaac was shot in both legs and his driver was shot in the hand. Both of them survived. They’re in hospital,” he said.
Pillay said Naidoo was in the back seat while his wife was in the front. The shooting, seen in the footage, takes place moments after they open the doors of their vehicle to get out.
In the footage, a white vehicle can be seen driving along Table Mountain Drive before it is stopped, partially blocking the left hand side of the road. Thirteen seconds later, Naidoo’s vehicle, a white Toyota Fortuna, pulls up.
The back passenger door of the Fortuner is opened, but it is not clear from the footage who the person was who opened it or if they got out of the vehicle.
Naidoo’s wife is seen getting out of the front passenger side of the vehicle and walks towards the rear of the SUV.
Suddenly, four men alight from the stationary vehicle, three of them drawing firearms and running towards the Fortuner, firing multiple shots. The fourth man stands next to the white car.
As the bullets are fired, Naidoo’s driver accelerates and drives past the other vehicle. Naidoo is presumably in the vehicle as it speeds away, but this could not immediately be confirmed.
Pillay said Naidoo was doing “OK”.
Police have been approached for comment, and this story will be updated.
— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) October 13, 2021
Facebook Down, Instagram and WhatsApp also offline
Facebook is currently experiencing an outage impacting its family of sites including WhatsApp and Instagram.
Most Facebook users are seeing an error message that says ‘This site can’t be reached.’ On Instagram, the error message shows as a 5xx Server Error message.
The outage is impacting users on both desktop and mobile.
“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products,” Andy Stone, policy communications manager at Facebook, tweeted on Monday. “We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”
We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.
— Facebook (@Facebook) October 4, 2021
Facebook Messenger and Oculus are also experiencing outages.
The first reports on DownDetector.com started around 5pm.
According to The Verge, the issue is likely related to a DNS issue. When Slack experienced an outage last week, it was also related to DNS issues.
Husband killed, wife critical as robbers open fire during Joburg home invasion
A home invasion on Sunday night left a man dead and his wife fighting for her life after they were shot by robbers in Randpark, Johannesburg.
Emer-G-Med private emergency services paramedics found the man had sustained fatal gunshot wounds and he was declared dead.
His wife was also shot several times and was stabilised before being taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Reports from the scene indicated there were several armed assailants.
Police are investigating the incident.- TimesLIVE
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