Search for missing Herolds Bay girl reduced

The search for Cozette Scheepers, 6, in the sea in the Herolds Bay area has been down-scaled
The search for Cozette Scheepers, 6, in the sea in the Herolds Bay area has been down-scaled

The search for a missing six-year-old girl who is believed to have drowned near Herolds Bay has been scaled down.

Authorities confirmed on Sunday that shore patrol and recovery searches for Cozette Scheepers were still under way, but the operation had been scaled back.

Police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie said sporadic vehicle patrols were being conducted, concentrating mostly in the Voëlklip area.

Pojie appealed to residents to remain vigilant and report any floating objects or debris to police, so their recovery team could be sent to investigate.

Last week postmortems revealed that Cozette's mother Heidi, 35, and her brother, Hugo, 2, had drowned after their vehicle plunged off a cliff in the Voëlklip area on October 22.

Scheepers had taken the children for a walk on the beach at about 6pm on October 22, but the three failed to return home.

They were reported missing by Scheepers’s husband, Ettienne, 36, a few hours later, sparking a multidisciplinary search.

Two days later, searchers focused their attention on a cliff-side near Voëlklip after parts of the family’s VW  Caravelle were found at the foot of the cliff.

The three were in the VW Caravelle when it plunged off the cliff and the circumstances surrounding the incident are still under police investigation.

Hugo’s body was recovered floating in the water close to the wreckage site on Thursday, while Scheepers’s body was found just off the Herolds Bay beach two days later.

Last week, Etienne Scheepers dismissed speculation that the tragedy had been influenced by financial or marital problems at home.

According to reports, Scheepers said nothing untoward had happened before the family’s disappearance and that they were financially sound, with their businesses doing well.