Cape Town - Missing Shireen Essop wasn’t hijacked because of her car.
Police found Essop’s white Toyota 30 to 40 minutes after her disappearance in Browns Farm, Philippi, not far where her alleged hijackers stopped her in Weltevreden Road. It was intact and had not been stripped.
The 32-year old mother of a 2-year -old boy was stopped, and the last call she made was to her mother, screaming: “They’re taking me … they’re taking me.” Then the phone went dead. The police have been unable to find the phone, after reports that it was traced to Khayelitsha.
Detectives were yesterday busy interviewing the family at their house in Manenberg where Shireen, her husband and child stayed. They were told not to speak to the media, but a family member speaking on condition of anonymity said Shireen worked at a milk factory in Weltevreden Road as an administrative clerk, and was on her way home when the incident happened.
Family, friends and community activists were scouring the area from where she disappeared, but there is still no sign of her.
“Alhamdulilah, a lot of people (are searching for her). Everybody is putting in the time, putting in the effort. We are really grateful – Pink Ladies, various units of the City of Cape Town, the SAPS, and people in their personal capacity have started groups doing walkabouts. I think the search efforts are phenomenal,” the family member said.
The Manenberg Community held an interfaith prayer session and vigil for Essop on Tuesday night.
Western Cape Missing Persons Unit CEO and founder Candice van der Rheede said that with regards to Essop, she had informed her members to stand down and to allow the police to do their work.
“We are sharing the flyer the family made, and have asked people to be on the lookout for her. However, I would like to ask the public not to repost any unconfirmed information and to be vigilant and to report any information they might have to the SAPS.”
Meanwhile, the Kraaifontein Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit is searching for missing 13-year-old Maria Pop from Wallacedene, Kraaifontein.
Pop was last seen on Monday morning after leaving her home, and was spotted in Cape Town at 5pm. She did not return home that day.
She was last seen wearing pink leggings and a multi-colour top. She has brown eyes, black hair and is of slim build.
WOMEN2WOMEN dealing with gender-based violence and missing persons chairperson Yaseen Johaar said that generally, the manner in which missing persons cases were dealt with was poor.
“We are well aware that there’s no time frame to report a missing person. It must actually be done immediately, but still we hear cases where families are sent back to wait, or go look here and there, and then come back to the station after a certain amount of time.”
In a recent case reported to the Philippi police station, a family arrived at the station at 11pm, and found the station’s lights off and officers sleeping, Johaar said. Some reported cases receive no engagement from detectives, with community and organisations forced to commence their own search operations.