Anguished mom’s hopes are fading as eight-year-old son has been missing for two weeks
“I am beginning to accept the worst,” Chriszelda Witbooi says as she fights back the tears.
Her son, Recolin, disappeared from the street in front of their Helenvale home without a trace and has been missing for two weeks.
“If you see him anywhere, ask him who his mom and dad are. He knows our names. He knows his grandfather’s address. Don’t wait to phone. Just put him in your car and take him to the police,” she pleaded.
For two weeks, Witbooi has been going out at night lifting up cardboard boxes, entering dangerous areas, looking at street children – all in the hope finding her eight-year-old son.
“He is thin. He is not a big child but he has the biggest smile,” she said.
“All we found were these young boys, their eyes stiff in their heads from all the drugs they smoked.”
Witbooi said she was rapidly losing hope.
“I think I have to start accepting the worst,” she said.
“We can’t find a single trace of where he can be. The police spoke to his friends. I don’t think they are telling me everything. I have a bad feeling about this.”
Recolin’s dad, Clive Domingo, said he particularly felt his son’s absence when driving to Hillcrest Primary, the same route he had taken every day for two years as he dropped the boy off at school.
“This has been very hard. We don’t want to drive because he is a small child and we are scared we won’t see him. So we walk.”
He was speaking at Hillcrest Primary on Friday at a prayer service at school held for the missing child.
Domingo and a group of community members have been walking from their home in Barcelona, Helenvale, to Morningside and Linton Grange and to Greenacres, following up on information of members of the public who claim they have seen Recolin.
“Any information we get, we go look,” Domingo said.
Police spokesperson Priscilla Naidu echoed the call to the public to simply pick up Recolin and take him to the nearest police station.
She said police were still following up on information received from the public.
“He may have been with a vagrant in Newton Park. We have questioned [the adult] and he does not know the boy. Every day, the team visits various robots.
“We have received a number of calls from people saying that they have seen him and we appreciate these calls. However, we appeal to the public that if they suspect that they have spotted the boy, they should stop and take him with them and then contact us,” she said.
“By just phoning us with a likely sighting of him delays our reaction time to get to the place of where he was seen. When we get there, there is no-one around.”
In a heartfelt plea at the prayer meeting, the concerned community said: “Please Lord, won’t You come to stay with us today? Hear our prayers.”
Recolin’s teacher, Vivian Raubenheimer, said: “For two years I have been his mother from 8am to 1.30pm. This is very difficult for me. I look at his empty chair every day. He is a wonderful child and the one I can always rely on.
“I pray that wherever Recolin is, God will hold him in his hand.”
Audrey Campher, from concerned citizens of Port Elizabeth, said it had received information that he had been seen with a man at the KFC and begging in Cape Road.