Kimberley – The body of the toddler who went missing almost a week ago was found in the Vaal River near Delportshoop on Thursday following a joint search involving community members and the police.
It is believed that her body was dumped in a bag and then thrown into the river. A stone had been tied to her body.
The girl was abducted from her home in Rooikoppies, Delportshoop on April 20 after a man allegedly threatened to kill and attempted to rape her mother.
Members of the SAPS Diving Unit retrieved the girl’s body on Thursday afternoon.
Community members condemned the cruel manner in which an innocent toddler had met her death.
Although the girl’s family are still reeling in shock following the discovery of the body, they were relieved that her body had at least finally been found.
They believe that the girl’s abductor knew the steep, rocky terrain leading up to the river very well. “The toddler would never have been able to navigate her way there in the dark.”
The toddler’s twin brother will now have to celebrate their second birthday on April 29 without his sister.
Family members said that the children regarded the man arrested in connection with the incident as a father figure, as he had helped to raise them and they called him “daddy”.
“We are heartbroken and it will be a difficult process to accept her death.”
They added that the window where the accused allegedly gained forced entry to the house was still broken.
The father of the twins said that the boy was crying for his sister.
“They were inseparable. He keeps asking where she is and tells us to buy treats and chips for his sister. He even wore a pair of her pink sandals today so that he could feel closer to her. He is still so young and I dread the day when I have to tell him what really happened to his twin.”
The father added that he had taken the week off from work in order to join in the search. “I have not slept a wink since I arrived in Delportshoop. I have a contract job in Ulco and I will only return after the funeral.”
The girl’s mother did not wish to go to the river as she felt that it would be too traumatic.
She stated that she was frantic when she realised that her child had been taken from the bedroom.
“She was sick and we had just brought her back from the hospital. As soon as I realised that she was gone I immediately called for help and we started searching for her, but it was around 10pm and it was dark. The children were all asleep in the bedroom, although I was awake and I was sober. We had no idea where they could have gone.”
Police spokesperson Captain Olebogeng Tawana said that the Northern Cape police’s Search and Rescue unit, K9 unit, Mounted unit, Visible Policing unit, Detectives and Diving unit were involved in the intensive search for the missing toddler over the past six days.
“They made a gruesome discovery of the body of a two-year-old girl in the Vaal River today (Thursday) at 12.50pm. A stone was tightened around the toddler’s body that was found submerged under water,” said Tawana.
He added that the 41-year-old accused who appeared in the Barkly West Magistrate’s Court this week on charges of attempted rape, housebreaking with intent to assault and kidnapping, would also face a murder charge.
“The Northern Cape police management condemns crimes against women and children in the strongest terms,” Tawana concluded.
The SAPS provincial head for Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences, Brigadier Nicky Mills, thanked the community for assisting the police in finding the girl.
“Although the outcome is not what we hoped for, it would not have been possible without the help of the community who joined the police, night and day, in the search. We understand the frustration of the family and we managed to sort out our differences,” said Mills.
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