A woman who was stolen in Ermelo, Mpumalanga, as a baby 20 years ago is soon to be united with her family.
Police in Ermelo on Monday revealed details of the incredible and lengthy investigation that led to the arrest of a 50-year-old woman and the rescue of the woman.
The rescued woman – who has not yet been named – was stolen as a baby on 23 March 2001.
Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said the police report filed at that time said a 16-year-old mom had just been discharged from Ermelo Provincial Hospital when she accepted a stranger’s help to hold her newborn baby.
“As they were on their way home (to Breyten) in the company of the baby’s aunt, they met a certain woman who is said to have offered to assist by holding the baby as her mom was experiencing some pains and dizziness whilst the aunt had visited a shop nearby,” reads part of the 2001 police report.
The stranger pretended to follow the aunt before she disappeared with the baby.
“The aunt returned but the said woman never did and after searching for the woman and the baby for a while, their attempts were futile,” says the report.
The incident was then reported to the police at Ermelo and a case of child abduction was opened.
For two decades police could not make any headway, but that changed last month.
On 29 November 2021, the police got credible leads into their investigation that led them to the now 20-year-old abducted woman.
Brigadier Mohlala said DNA tests came back positive confirming the woman was the one stolen as a baby.
“The young lady has been kept in a place of safety whilst she receives some psychological support services and will hopefully be reunited with her biological family soon,” said Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.
A 50-year-old woman was arrested and charged with abduction. The suspect appeared in the Ermelo Magistrate’s Court on 30 November.
She was granted bail of R1 000 and her case was postponed to 18 January 2021.
“The name of the suspect has been withheld for the protection of the victim’s identity,” said the police.