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Cape Town - The two men held by police for questioning about the disappearance of four-year-old Shaskia Michaels have been released without being charged.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut said this morning that the men, who were detained on Sunday, could not be linked to the little girl’s disappearance.
After nearly 48 hours of being held for questioning they were released.
Police did not say if there were any new leads following the questioning.
The search effort continued on Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, Shaskia’s mother, Anthea Michaels, 26, is hoping her daughter is alive as two school children said they spotted her on Monday afternoon.
Shaskia’s mother said two Grade 6 pupils from Tafelsig Primary School thought they had seen a little girl being pushed in a trolley by a man. She said the children called Shaskia’s name twice and she turned back to look at them, but the man sped off with her in the trolley.
Aqueellah Lewis, caretaker at Tafelsig Primary, said the girls had been in the school grounds at about 1pm during the lunch break when they saw a child who resembled the missing toddler.
They followed the man to the back of the school and said he walked down AZ Berman Drive. They said the little girl was wearing a purple tracksuit with pink sleeves, a hoodie on her head, and black pumps.
Abie Isaacs, chairman of the Community Police Forum (CPF) in the area said volunteers were handing out flyers with Shaskia’s picture at transport hubs in Mitchells Plain on Tuesday.
“We accept that not everyone has access to a phone, so the more contacts we make - the more people we speak to personally – the better our chances of finding Shaskia are,” he said.
Volunteers are also continuing their search efforts.
Lynn Phillips, also of the CPF, said the forum had been told by the family of the incident and had gone with a detective to the area, but there were no leads.
“We need constant supervision in the area where the child disappeared. Our experience in the past has proved to us that the child is most often found within the same road where they live,” said Phillips.
The last time Shaskia was seen was on Thursday morning, when she was in the care of her grandfather William Faroa, 46. He had been looking after her while her grandmother, Roselyn Faroa, 47, was at work.
She had been wearing a pink polo neck T-shirt and black pump-style slippers.
MEC for Social Development Albert Fritz on Monday visited Shaskia’s family to offer support. He said he was visiting the family in his personal capacity.
A reward of R50 000 has been offered for an arrest in connection with the disappearance of Shaskia, and Kauthar Bobbs, by mayor Patricia de Lille.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Warrant Officer Charles Julies or Mitchells Plain police at 021 370 1600 or Crime Stop at 08600 10 111. - Cape Argus