Joshlin rumour sparks search: All leads being followed

Still missing: Joshlin Smith, 6. Picture supplied

Still missing: Joshlin Smith, 6. Picture supplied

Published Apr 19, 2024


A rumour about the whereabouts of Joshlin Smith sparked a frantic search for the missing Saldanha Bay girl this week.

On Monday, a woman who claimed to have been in jail with the six-year-old’s mom Racquel Kelly Smith in Pollsmoor said she was informed of where the child was.

Friday marks exactly two months since the Grade 1 learner from Diazville Primary School disappeared.

Joshlin was in the care of her mother’s boyfriend Jacquen Appollis when she went missing on February 19.

Councillor Vernon Vraagom said there was a voice note circulating with the claims.

Turning every stone: Local councillor Vernon Vraagom.Photographer: Leon Lestrade / Independent Newspapers.

“We gathered people around and told them that the woman, who was a witness to a crime but missed a court date and was arrested thereafter, said she was told by Kelly that the child was at the shack where a sangoma lives in Middelpos,” Vraagom said.

“She described the shack and said there is a kombi that parks there, we should check under it, there’s a drain and that Joshlin wasn’t the only child who was there.”

He said the woman was not told what kind of condition she was in.

“We had to follow that lead because we were desperate to find the girl,” Vraagom said.

“We just want closure. It has been two months and no positive lead. We may say we don’t trust Kelly, but we have to listen and search.”

When the Diazville residents went to the sangoma’s place they were reportedly met with hostility and did not find anything.

Vraagom revealed that on Wednesday they got another lead.

He goes on: “A person came forward and said they saw Jacquen and his friend Steveno put a bag in a drain near Diazville High School the night Joshlin disappeared.

“Shortly after that the drain overflowed and that is where bloody clothes were found the second time.

“We have not yet determined whether the clothes belong to any of the accused or Joshlin.

“On Wednesday, we asked the police and the municipality to help with the machines to dig, nothing positive came out of that.

“We are waiting for the blueprints of the area so they can take a look inside the stormwater pipes.”

Police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm Pojie, says their investigating team are still pursuing all leads to trace Joshlin.

Paternal grandmother Lauretta Yon says they were hopeful that Joshlin will be found.

She laments: “I would have been happy even if we found the body for closure.

“We want Kelly and others to tell the truth and tell us where the child is. My son said his epilepsy has worsened. I am trying to be strong.”

The grandmother hasn’t given up hope that Joshlin will be found and hopes mom Kelly will come clean at the next court appearance.

Smith, Appollis and friends Steveno van Rhyn and Lourentia Lombaard were arrested and face human trafficking and kidnapping charges.

They are expected to appear in the Vredenburg Magistrate’s Court on May 13.

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Daily Voice