Concocted story sparks huge search

Women arrested after hunt for ‘kidnapped girl’

A team of detectives spent hours searching for a 10-year-old girl who they thought had been kidnapped after three women allegedly fabricated an elaborate story about being abducted.

All three women have since been arrested after police spent 16 hours searching for a girl the women claimed was with them when they were abducted by a gang of men.

Officials involved with the search yesterday said they believed the women conjured up the story to get a lift back to their homes in Bethelsdorp.

The hunt involved a police helicopter conducting aerial searches over Motherwell, with the K9 unit and several search parties on the ground.

Detectives searched throughout the night for the allegedly abducted girl, before coming to the conclusion that the women had made up the entire story.

At about 1pm yesterday the women, aged 24, 33 and 34, were arrested for perjury.

Police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said the women contacted police at 9pm on Sunday claiming they had been kidnapped from Truckers Inn in Wells Estate after having arrived in Port Elizabeth from Grahamstown.

“They gave an elaborate story of how they got a lift in a taxi and were then forced by six men into another vehicle parked close to Corobrik on the M17 and Swartkops Road.

“The women claimed they were apparently forced to leave a 10-year-old girl behind in a red Toyota Tazz before being thrown out of the car and taken to an open field nearby where they were assaulted for no reason.”

Beetge said the women claimed that after being beaten they were forced back into the car and dropped off in Seyisi Street, New Brighton.

“From here, they contacted police to alert them to the 10-yearold girl still being with the kidnappers.”

Beetge said a massive operation was launched, with police working throughout the night to locate the missing girl.

“As detectives began their probe into the women’s claim they discovered the women were never at Truckers Inn or even at any of the locations where they claimed to have been taken to.

“On confrontation, after it was established that their version of events did not correspond with the evidence gathered, they buckled and admitted to lying,” Beetge said.

The investigation revealed that all three women were in fact from Bethelsdorp, there was never a 10-year-old child, they had not gone to Grahamstown and were not abducted.

Asked about the motive, Beetge said it was still not known.

However, detectives did find out that prior to calling the police, the women were drinking at a tavern in New Brighton.

“It is possible they were looking for a lift home – we just do not yet know,” he said.

Motherwell Cluster commander Major-General Dawie Rabie said giving police the runaround meant resources were diverted away from other investigations.

The women are due to appear in the Motherwell Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.

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