Western Cape -
Missing Barrydale farmer Andrew Whittingdale’s cellphone has been traced to Lesotho and his bank account has been emptied, says his brother.
Whittingdale, 56, owner of the Makouvlei olive farm, was last seen on January 4 on Route 62, the road that passes through Montagu, Ladismith and Joubertina.
A hitchhiker and some of his farmworkers saw him getting into a white BMW with two men.
On Monday, his brother Richard Whittingdale said attempts to try to find him were continuing.
While his brother had often travelled, he had never gone away for long periods without contacting his family.
“It’s absolutely bizarre,” Richard said.
A missing persons’ flyer said before he was last seen Whittingdale had told a friend that two men were coming from Cape Town to see him.
Richard has posted a number of messages on Whittingdale’s Facebook page about where his brother was spotted in the days leading to him last being seen and what happened in the days after.
Based on these posts, Whittingdale’s movements were as follows:
* On January 3, he was seen buying beers at 2.30pm in Barrydale with another man.
* On January 4, his bank account was emptied at 9.30am. Police had a photograph of another man withdrawing money from Whittingdale’s account.
* On January 4, he was seen outside a hotel in Barrydale in a white car at 10.30am.
* On January 6, there was a “confident spotting” of him in Bredasdorp.
* On January 10, his cellphone was traced to Lesotho.
Previously, Richard had told the Cape Times his brother had sent him an SMS requesting R200 000 and that he believed his brother had been forced to send this message.
On Monday, police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said: “There are no new developments to report. The investigation continues.”
On Whittingdale’s Facebook page, a number of his friends offered advice to try to boost the search for him.
One friend indicated they were willing to go to Lesotho to look for him, while another said she would try to raise money as a reward for his safe return.
Other friends wrote messages of support.
“Come home safe, Andrew. We keep praying for your safety and your family’s strength during this time,” one wrote.
Another said: “Strength to you all and our abiding love.”
The missing persons’ flyer said Whittingdale always wore a short-sleeved check shirt and khaki shorts.
It said about a year ago he had been injured and as a result his left arm and leg were weak.
Anyone with information can contact the Ladismith police on 028 551 8100 or CrimeStop on 08600 10111, or SMS Crime Line at 32211.