Amy'Leigh reunited with family after abduction from Vaal school
Amy'Leigh de Jager has been returned with her family after her abduction on Monday morning at a Vanderbijlpark school.
The six-year-old, who was snatched by a gang of men at a drop-off point at Laerskool Kollegepark in Vanderbijlpark on Monday morning, has been found, the family confirmed.
“She has been found. The people dropped her off in the streets and a woman and her man heard her crying and rushed her to the police station,” her aunt, Louise Horn, told TimesLIVE on Tuesday morning.
Horn said Amy'Leigh was found at about 2am on Tuesday.
“Everything is OK, she wasn't harmed. She has also undergone tests at the hospital, so everything is OK.
“The family is still very heartbroken, but we are just thankful that she is alive.”
Police spokesperson Brig Vishnu Naidoo said: “Amy was found this morning and she is undergoing a medical examination at a local hospital. The investigation into her disappearance and sudden reappearance is ongoing. It is our appeal that this investigation be allowed to take its course.”
Horn said the whole family was relieved. “It was the longest 19 hours of our lives. We are really glad she's back with us.”
Once reunited with her mom, Angeline, and dad, Wynand, “the first thing she asked for was a burger and her brother”.
Horn said Amy'Leigh's mother was traumatised and her father heartbroken. “It's going to be a long road of recovery for all of them.”
According to Horn, no ransom was paid.
Four men kidnapped the girl shortly before 8am on Monday, bundling her into a white Toyota Fortuner before speeding off.
The abduction spurred police to launch a province-wide manhunt, calling in hostage negotiators and tracing teams, augmented by crime intelligence unit agents.
Horn told TimesLIVE on Monday that the kidnappers had put in a terse call to the girl's father, Wynand, demanding R2m cash in exchange for the safe return of the child.
FF Plus councillor Gerda Senekal, part of a community response team mobilised in the wake of the abduction, confirmed Amy'Leigh was reunited with her parents in the early hours of Tuesday.
Zandelee Brouwer, Amy'Leigh's aunt, shared: “Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amy'Leigh is safe. Please respect her mother and father's privacy at this stage. Everyone has been through a long, rough day/night.”
Another family member, Martino Brouwer, said: “She is now safe. Thank you to everyone that stood with our family today and helped us get her back.”