Community policing forums in and around Vanderbijlpark joined forces and searched from pillar to post to help track kidnapped six-year-old Amy-Leigh de Jager.
Llewellynn Hemmens said when the incident happened on Monday morning‚ an alert was shared on community social media pages.
“The message spread like a veld fire. It was really crazy‚” he said.
Security companies and private community forums immediately started patrolling through the streets to see if they could spot anything‚ he said. They later alerted community forums in Roodepoort‚ Randfontein‚ the East Rand and as far as Heidelberg and Potchefstroom.
“We asked them to be on the lookout for any suspicious movements on the roads‚ like vehicles driving at high speed. Every white Toyota Fortuner became a suspicious car‚ and that was quite interesting.”
He said the task was almost hampered when false information of Amy-Leigh being found was spread on social media. This stemmed from confusion over another‚ much older‚ missing girl who had been found.
“Police then asked us to ensure less information would be shared on groups to avoid the spreading of fake news‚” he said.
He said the groups never stopped walking and patrolling through the streets of Vanderbijlpark until late Monday in the hope of finding clues.
At 2am‚ they received a message on the groups that Amy-Leigh had been found‚ which came as a huge relief.
Earlier on Tuesday‚ Shawn Delport‚ who also helped in the search for Amy-Leigh‚ told TimesLIVE she was dropped off by two people in the early hours of the morning on a street close to the Shakespeare Inn in Vanderbijlpark.
She was told her mother was waiting for her at the shop across the road. The child started screaming when she realised it was not her mother. Two people stopped to ease her distress‚ and they walked her to a police station.
Four men had grabbed the grade R pupil from her mother‚ Angeline‚ at the Laershool Kollegepark shortly before 8am on Monday. They bundled her into a white Toyota Fortuner before speeding off.
On Tuesday‚ the family asked to be given space to allow them to rest.
By: Iavan Pijoos
Source: TMG Digital.