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Just more than a year after five-year-old Kauther Bobbs vanished without a trace in Tafelsig, police on Friday descended on a sandy area behind her home where they spent several hours digging three holes.
The open area is also behind the house of another missing child, Shaskia Michaels, who disappeared early last month from outside her home, adjacent to that of the Bobbs family.
Although groups of about 60 residents who gathered to watch the police work thought they were there for the Shaskia case, police spokesman André Traut told Weekend Argus that they were investigating Kauther’s disappearance.
They had been investigating the child’s disappearance since late last year and yesterday’s search was “part of that investigation”.
Asked what they had found, he responded that there were “no new developments”.
Kauther, 5, went missing on October 12 last year while playing in a park near her house.
Her neighbour, four-year-old Shaskia, went missing from outside her house early last month.
Roslyn Faroa, 47, Shaskia’s grandmother, said at the scene on Friday they had seen police, some wearing forensic suits, find a baby bottle, a blanket and “small bones” in the early afternoon in the third hole they dug.
These were put into evidence bags.
But many onlookers said the piece of land on which police were searching was “community land” which had been used in the past as a dump site for residents to bury rubbish, including dead dogs.
By 4pm yesterday, the three holes had been filled and the police left, after again cordoning off the area.
There have not been any arrests related to the disappearance of either of the children, despite a series of community and police searches and a R50 000 reward offered by Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.
Shaskia’s aunt, Mareldia Abrahams, told Weekend Argus the police had arrived at 10am yesterday and had cordoned off the open sandy area on Langeberg Road and started digging.
They did not explain why they started digging there.
“No one talked to us. We still know nothing,” she said.
“It’s so difficult for us when they dig. At this stage, we are not thinking of it as something positive or negative. But it is so difficult to see them dig and know we can’t do anything.”
Gert Faroa, 46, Shaskia’s grandfather, said the family still believed the child would be returned alive to them.
“Someone can just come and bring her back, and leave her outside,” he said. “We’ll just be happy to have her back.”
Members of Kauther’s family refused to speak to the media. - Saturday Argus
- Anyone with information about the missing children should contact Warrant Officer Charles Julies or the Mitchells Plain police at 021 370 1600.