Woman who 'kidnapped' toddler from PE beach appears in court
A 25-year-old woman accused of snatching a toddler from the Port Elizabeth beachfront last week has pleaded not guilty in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court to a charge of kidnapping of a minor.
Megan Diedericks - listed in court documents as bush dweller from Walmer township - first told the court on Tuesday she would represent herself in the matter but after being informed she could apply for Legal Aid assistance, for free, decided to appoint a legal representative.
It is alleged Diedericks kidnapped a three-year-old Bethelsdorp boy on Friday after striking up a conversation with the child’s 52-year-old grandmother, who was waiting for the child’s mother at the beach near Something Good in Summerstrand.
According to police the two women had gone to buy liquor at Summerstrand Village before returning to the beachfront.
Later that day, at around 6pm, Diedericks allegedly went to buy cigarettes and took the toddler with her but the two never returned.
The alleged kidnapping was reported the following morning.
After numerous calls to police from the public about possible sightings of Diedericks and the boy in the Victoria Park Drive vicinity, detectives made a breakthrough on Sunday morning when they found Diedericks and the missing child in a shack deep in the bushes in Victoria Park Drive.
At the time Diedericks claimed she could not find the toddler's grandmother after returning from the shop on Friday.
She was arrested after she could not give a reasonable explanation as to why she had not contacted police.
Diedericks is expected to appear in court on Wednesday for a formal bail application.