Missing Joshlin Smith: Four suspects expected to appear in court

Four suspects allegedly involved in the disappearance of six-year-old Joshlin Smith from Saldanha are set to appear in the Vredenburg Magistrates’ Court.

Four suspects allegedly involved in the disappearance of six-year-old Joshlin Smith from Saldanha are set to appear in the Vredenburg Magistrates’ Court.

Published Mar 7, 2024

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All eyes will be on the Vredenburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, where suspects are expected to appear in connection with the disappearance of six-year-old Joshlin Smith from Saldanha Bay.

It’s been more than two weeks since the Grade 1 learner at Diazville Primary School disappeared while left in the care of her mother’s boyfriend, Jacquin Appollis, on February 19.

Announcing the first major breakthrough in the case on Wednesday, police said that four people were questioned – two men and two women aged between 26 and 34.

Western Cape police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said provincial police commissioner Thembisile Patekile and Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagen Allen would also be in court.

“The investigation saw the team of detectives visiting several places within the West Coast town and interviewing several other persons,” Potelwa said.

“The search for Joshlin brought individuals, NGOs, community activists, police officials, neighbourhood watches and representatives from different spheres of government together in the quest to find the missing girl.

“For days they searched vast identified areas in Saldanha Bay.”

At the time of Joshlin’s disappearance, her mother Kelly Smith, 33, said the girl fell ill and was left in Appollis’s care while she went to work.

Jacquin “Boeta” Appollis and Kelly Smith. Picture: Supplied

Kelly claimed that when she returned home at around 5pm, her daughter was missing, while Appollis stuck to his guns that he last saw Joshlin in the afternoon while she played with friends outside.

On Wednesday, police could not confirm who the four suspects were.

Meanwhile, Joshlin’s biological father, Jose Emke, spoke to the media yesterday, saying all he wanted was for his child to be returned to him.

Emke travelled from the Northern Cape to Saldanha Bay after his mother, Lorita Yon, called and shared the heartbreaking news.

“I hope there is going to be a breakthrough in the case so that I can know my child is still alive and safe,” he said. “I just want to see that the people who took my child bring her back to me.”

Emke said speculation surrounding his daughter on social media had taken a toll on his family.

Among the speculations advanced by yesterday was that Joshlin was sold for R20,000.

“It is affecting us a lot because there are a lot of stories that are going around and my family are also affected,” Emke said.

The father expressed his desire to keep custody of his other daughter, who is also in the care of Kelly.

“My heart is telling me I must just take my kids and put them in my care then I will feel very happy.

“I want all my kids in my care so that they can be safe with me. The mother and I don’t have a relationship since this has happened,” he said.

The head of Action Society’s Action Centre in the Western Cape, Kaylynn Palm, said they welcomed the resources police allocated towards finding Joshlin.

“It should not distract us from the sad reality that not all cases get the same amount of attention, and this often results in the child being found dead, mostly due to the lack of urgency or due diligence from the police,” Palm said.

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