Vanderbijlpark teacher Tharina Human (27) and two co-accused are due to appear in the magistrate’s court on Thursday to make bail applications after being arrested in connection with the kidnapping of Amy’Leigh de Jager, 6.
Human, Laetitia Nel (40) and Pieter van Zyl (50), all of Vanderbijlpark, have been in custody since their arrest shortly after Amy’Leigh’s safe return to her family, 19 hours after her abduction from her school gates on September 2.
The trio’s alleged kidnap and ransom scheme was set in motion when four men grabbed the grade R pupil from her mother, Angeline, outside the gates of Laerskool Kollegepark. They bundled her into a white Toyota Fortuner before speeding off.
Police, private security firms and the community of Vanderbijlpark scrambled to block exits to the town in the wake of her snatching, shortly before her father, Wynand, received the chilling ransom demand.
Police hostage negotiators, in brokering her safe return, bartered down the ransom demand from R2m to just R6,000 before the little girl was found wandering the streets of Vanderbijlpark in the early hours of Tuesday.
The Sunday Times reported that the hysterical child was found by a couple, Hendrik Breedt and Savannah Kriel, who were making their way home from a neighbourhood pub. Their discovery brought the hostage drama to an end.
Human is the prime suspect: She was employed by the school, teaching Amy’Leigh’s brother, Jayden, 5, and was “best friends” with the children’s mother.
At their previous court appearance, she was supported by her father Riaan Botha. Outside court, Botha said he visited his daughter in prison and had been hoping for her release from custody then. But: “I was prepared that should it not happen, I leave it to God, because he has the last say.”