Home South African Hope fades as search for Joshlin Smith enters third month

Hope fades as search for Joshlin Smith enters third month

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It’s been three months since Joshlin Smith went missing and hopes of finding the six-year-old Saldanha Bay resident are fading.

Joshlin Smith went missing on February 19. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane, Independent Newspapers

IT HAS been three months since Joshlin Smith went missing and now, according to an expert, hopes of finding the six-year-old Saldanha Bay resident are fading.

Smith went missing on February 19, prompting a search via land, air and even sea, but to no avail.

To date, four people have been arrested in connection with her disappearance. They are; Kelly Smith (Joshlin’s mother), Jacquen Appolis (Smith’s boyfriend), Stevano van Rhyn and Lourentia Lombaard, all of whom face charges of trafficking in persons for the purpose of exploitation and kidnapping.

Kelly Smith and her co-accused in the Vredenburg Magistrate’s Court. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane, Independent Newspapers

The group remains in custody after abandoning their bail applications. The police have also rubbished claims of a fifth arrest.

Dr Shaheda Omar of the Teddy Bear Clinic said it is highly unlikely that Joshlin will be found, owing to how long she’s been missing. Omar said that with human trafficking cases, there are numerous change of hands, and if the child is not found within the first 24 hours the situation looks bleak.

Speaking to Newzroom Afrika, she added that police were informed “very late” about Joshlin’s disappearance.

According to Omar, it is sad that Kelly is a suspect in her own daughter’s case, placing a question mark on her role in the matter and her role as a mother.

“The reality is that there is no hope for this child. I hate to break it to everyone, but unfortunately finding this child is very unlikely. Even if she is alive, it is very unlikely. It is a very sad day for South Africa and for children in SA and many families,” she told Newzroom Afrika.

According to reports, provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile, the South African Police Service (SAPS) has followed up on every lead and reached a dead-end.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Fannie Masemola requesting that Joshlin’s case be handed over to the SAPS Cold Case unit.

The party said the unit houses some of the most skilled police professionals in the country.

“They are expertly trained at following up a case like Joshlin’s disappearance, which has gone cold because of interference by political vultures,” said DA leader John Steenhuisen.

Steenhuisen said the Cold Case unit has an excellent track record of solving cases where local investigations have failed or been contaminated, including the cases of slain soccer star Senzo Meyiwa and KwaZulu-Natal priest Liezel de Jager.

The accused are due back in court on July 15.

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