Eastern Cape dad sniffed out hiding among trees with kidnapped toddler

03 September 2020 - 13:44
A father who fled with his daughter after a dispute with the child's mother was found hiding in an orchard the following morning. Stock image.
A father who fled with his daughter after a dispute with the child's mother was found hiding in an orchard the following morning. Stock image.
Image: 123RF/Leonid Tit

Eastern Cape police on Thursday hailed the services of their search and rescue dog Misty, which managed to sniff out a man who had kidnapped his toddler and gone into hiding with her.

Col Priscilla Naidu said the child had been taken by the 24-year-old father after an argument with the child’s mother on Monday. The couple live on a farm in the orange-growing area of Patensie.

“The mother was not overly concerned at the time [the angry father left with the child] as she assumed that he would return with the child as soon as his anger subsided. However, when he did not return by 9pm, she reported the matter to police,” said Naidu.

Police dog Misty helped track down a father who had disappeared with his daughter after an argument with the child's mother.
Police dog Misty helped track down a father who had disappeared with his daughter after an argument with the child's mother.
Image: Supplied / SAPS

The investigating officer, Det-Sgt Phumlani Ngqengqa, mobilised a search team.

“They searched the many orange orchards all night, to no avail. At 7.30 the following morning, PE’s search and rescue team was roped in to help. Search teams split up and at about 10.30am, Misty picked up a scent and found the father and child huddled between low-hanging trees,” Naidu added.

Police said it was unclear whether the father and daughter had slept in the orchard.

The toddler was taken to hospital for a medical  check-up while her father was taken into police custody.

“He was not detained, however a statement was taken from him and, on conclusion of the investigation, the case will be sent to the court for a decision,” said Naidu.

Acting district commissioner for the Sarah Baartman district Brig John Lebok expressed his appreciation to the search teams for their efforts in tracing the child and the father.

“Credit most definitely must be given to our police dog, Misty, who played a major role in the search and it is through her trained skills that we were able to find the child and the father,” Lebok said.

“The wellbeing and welfare of children remain a priority for the police and when a child is reported missing or kidnapped, available resources and manpower must immediately be mobilised to find the child as soon as possible,” he added.

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