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Cape Town - Helicopters were launched on Friday to help in the frantic search for a little Mitchells Plain girl who disappeared from her home on Wednesday.
Shaskia Michaels, 4, is the next door neighbour of Kauthar Bobbs, 5, who disappeared last October.
Both children are from homes in Munich Street, Freedom Park. Kauthar is still missing.
On Friday morning, anxious family and friends who searched the area on Thursday night were joined again by police and residents.
Shaskia was last seen playing outside her house with friends from her street on Wednesday.
“Yes, now it is two children missing, not only from the same street, but from neighbouring homes,” said Community Policing Forum (CPF) volunteer Lynn Phillips.
Phillips, who works closely with CPF chairman Abie Isaacs, said a large scale search involving police and 50 members of the community started again at 8am today after breaking up for the night on Thursday.
“We start every day searching from the house and extending the search outwards in concentric circles.
“We started this morning with the 50 volunteers, but we expect more people to join us during the morning.”
Phillips, who had broken away from the search this morning to have pamphlets printed, said residents were willing to take part in the searches.
Phillips said Shaskia’s grandfather was at home when she disappeared.
The child was dressed in a pink polo neck jersey and black slippers.
Mitchells Plain station commander Major-General Jeremy Veary said: “The house is immediately next to where Kauthar went missing on October 11 last year. Right next door.
“The community mobilisation has been significant. We can mobilise a capacity of up to 200 people within an hour.”
Veary said Freedom Park also bordered the Wolfgat Nature Reserve, so helicopters had been dispatched to scour from the air.
Of concern was the delay between the child’s disappearance and when the police were notified.
“The child was in the grandfather’s care, and he said he saw the child at around 8.30am.
“But we were only notified much, much later in the afternoon, at around 4pm,” he explained.
“In every case in which we find kids fast, it’s because the parents choose not to search themselves and alert us immediately. Just call us to make sure,” Veary said.
Police asked that anyone with information about Shaskia’s whereabouts should contact the investigating officer Warrant Officer Julies on 079 894 1548 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.