Mother of missing 6-year-old, Joslin Smith

Missing South African girl’s mother charged with kidnapping and trafficking

By Rédaction Africanews with AP |

SOUTH AFRICA – The mother of a six-year-old girl who has been missing in South Africa for nearly three weeks was charged on Thursday with kidnapping and trafficking her daughter, along with three other suspects, including her boyfriend.

It is a shocking twist in a case that has gripped the country and sparked deep anger in the poor coastal community of Saldanha Bay where the family lives.

Joslin Smith disappeared from her home some 120 kilometres north of Cape Town on 19 February while allegedly under the care of her mother Kelly’s partner.

Despite a massive search operation involving police, firefighters, city authorities, and specialised sniffer dog units, she has still not been located.

Bloodied child’s clothes found by investigators last weekend in a field near Joslin’s home have been sent to a laboratory for forensic examination, heightening fears that she had been killed.

Speaking outside court where the four suspects appeared on Thursday, Western Cape Police Commissioner Thembisile Patekile said even though the case was in court, the priority remained to find the little girl.

“If more people are to be arrested, if the investigation leads us to that we shall do so, because at this stage we do not have a child. Our ultimate goal is to find the child so that there can be closure,” he said.

He renewed calls for people to help find her amid fears she may have been taken to a different city or even out of the country.

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