WATCH: Joshlin described as a loving, well-mannered little girl who crept into the hearts of many in her community

Joshlin Smith was last seen on February 19. Picture: SAPS

Joshlin Smith was last seen on February 19. Picture: SAPS

Published Mar 1, 2024


As the search for the missing six-year-old Saldanha Bay girl enters its eleventh day, those closest to her describe her as a loving and well-mannered little girl.

Joshlin Smith was last seen on Monday, February 19, at about 5pm.

She is a Grade 1 learner at Diazville Primary School.

Joshlin’s mother, Kelly Smith told police she asked about the whereabouts of the child, but could not find her. She later got hold of her boyfriend, Jacquin Appollis, who was supposed to look after the child, but he could not account for her whereabouts.

At the time of her disappearance, Joshlin was last seen wearing a light blue T-shirt and light blue denim shorts. She also has a birthmark located on her left arm.

Speaking to IOL, Carline Zeegers saw Joshlin, her two siblings and mother every day.

Zeegers is like a mother to Kelly and a grandmother to the children.

Joshlin and her siblings referred to Zeegers as ‘Ma Carline’.

Diazville Primary School is waiting for the return of their Grade 1 learner, Joshlin Smith. Picture: Kim Kay / IOL

She has known Kelly and her children for over two years and described the Joshlin as a petite little girl.

“She is a very loving child. She has good manners and is respectful. Kelly would come here every day and when Joshlin was fetched from school they would come in here (by my house). Joshlin would come in, come lay on my chest for a bit. I grew extremely attached to the children, and them to me,” Zeegers explained.

Joshlin also described as being a lover of television and cartoons.

“Many times then I would look for my (cell) phone and when I’d check, Joshlin would be sitting around the corner. She loved ‘Peppa Pig’,” Zeegers said.

Residents in Saldanha Bay continued to search for missing Joshlin Smith who disappearance in the area 11 days ago. Picture: Kim Kay / IOL

Kelly worked as a domestic for Zeegers and her daughter, and they were extremely fond of her.

While many rumours have surfaced about Joshlin’s mother, the family said they dare not speculate about what is being said, however, they can only speak about their own experiences.

“Kelly loves her children. Everywhere she went, she would be with her three children. Despite her flaws and everything, she loves her children and looks well after them.

“Her children are so well-mannered and obedient and they have literally crept into the hearts of many people here because of that,” Zeegers told IOL.

Residents in Saldanha Bay continued to search for missing Joshlin Smith who disappearance in the area 10 days ago. Picture: Kim Kay / IOL

Sitting in her living room, she recalls when she heard about Joshlin’s disappearance.

She explained that Kelly was at her house earlier in the day and also went to work at her daughter’s place. Zeegers did not see Joshlin on the day.

She and her daughter left to visit a relative’s grave in the early evening and Kelly left.

Later the evening, Zeegers got a phone call from Kelly, asking if she’d seen Joshlin.

Residents in Saldanha Bay continued to search for missing Joshlin Smith who disappearance in the area 10 days ago. Picture: Kim Kay / IOL

“I said no. I know Joshlin would come pop in, even if she was going to visit up in the road. Also, Kelly’s children never walked alone. So it was strange to me. Then the searches started.

“After 10pm, during load shedding time (10pm - 12am) they were still looking for Joshlin, and because I could not search along as I have my grandchild with me, I gave Kelly one of my rechargeable lights to head out and search,” Zeegers explained.

She also advised Kelly to call the police, and she was told the police were notified.

“We can only trust in the Lord and pray for Joshlin’s safe return. And to parents out there, I just want to say: care for your children,” Zeegers added.

Earlier this week police stated they would be scaling down search efforts for Joshlin, however, this has not deterred members of the community who continue to search for the missing child.

On Friday, Western Cape police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Pojie said the South African Police Service (SAPS) wanted to clear the air on the stance of their search for Joshlin.

“The SAPS in the Western Cape had noted various communications pertaining to the search for missing six-year-old Joshlin Smith. Some of the communication (were) with merit, others a combination of misinformation, half-truths, and misleading information.

“It is on this basis that we wish to reiterate our commitment to the search and investigation into missing Joshlin.

“Due to the time that has passed since she was reported missing, our search and investigations have taken and assumed different approaches. At times, led by information at our disposal, we have utilised specialised capabilities.

“Our investigators, supported by members from visible policing and specialised units with interventions from other law enforcement agencies, as well as scores of community members have been hard at work since she was reported missing,” Pojie said.

He said support from civilians with regard to searching for the girl was welcomed, but it must be properly coordinated and within the perimeters of the law.

“As the lead agency in investigations, mandated by law, our dedicated investigators to the case are applying the required principles of investigations as their work unfolds, with a view to taking the matter to court when required. Every endeavour is being made to find the missing girl,” Pojie said.