Cape Town – The mother of missing 8-year-old Tazne van Wyk has issued a desperate plea for the safe return of her daughter, who disappeared in Elsies River at the weekend.
The minor was last seen at a tuckshop only metres from her home on Friday, where she was sold an ice lolly.
Police have identified her neighbour, 54-year-old Pangkaeker Moyhdian, as a person of interest.
Moyhdian who, is alleged to have been released from prison, was last seen in the area on Friday, the same day Tazne disappeared.
“Delft FCS is seeking the assistance of the public in locating a person of interest, 54-year-old Pangkaeker Moyhdian, who is believed to have information that can assist the police in the investigation of a missing child, Tazne van Wyk.
"A case of kidnapping has been opened for investigation,” police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said.
Tazne’s mother, Carmen van Wyk, 28, said she had since heard that the man might have previously been convicted for violent crimes.
She realised her daughter was missing when she came home from work on Friday at around 6pm.
Tazne’s usual routine involved her taking part in a community youth programme every evening around that time.
The mother of missing 8-year-old Tazne van Wyk has issued a desperate plea for the safe return of her daughter, who disappeared in Elsies River. Video: David Ritchie / African News Agency (ANA)
“But when the other children came to fetch her to go to youth, Tazne was not here, and that’s when I panicked because it is not like her. Tazne is a child who keeps to herself.
"She is not a people’s person, so it is very hard to believe that she was taken by a stranger,” Carmen said.
“People said they saw him scouting the school Tazne attends for the past week and I am aware that he is said to have a previous conviction for similar offences.
“There is footage of him walking with her, but it shows that there was also a woman with them.
“They said he was about to travel to Durban and I never spoke to him, even though he had lived with our neighbours, who are his family, for the past two weeks.
"My neighbour, his niece, came to me the next morning saying there was a suspicion the previous night when Tazne went missing because they were looking for her there as well and when they entered his room both him and his bags were gone,” she added.
Carmen said: “I am very sad but I believe my child is still alive. I just hope she will be found soon,” she said.
Community members, ward councillor Beverly van Reenen and volunteers from missing person organisation Pink Ladies yesterday searched the area and surrounds by foot, looking for Tazne.
Last month the body of 12-year-old Michaela Williams was found in bushes in 9th Avenue in Schaapkraal. The man charged with her murder was previously convicted of rape and released from prison a year ago.
In August last year 18-year-old Jess Hess and her 85-year-old grandfather were killed, allegedly at the hands of two men with previous convictions, David van Boven and Tasliem Ambrose.
Approached for comment, Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo did not respond by deadline.
Anyone with information about the incident can contact investigating officer Dale Franks on 0823348772 or anonymously call Crime Stop on 08600 10111, or SMS Crime Line on 32211.