Bernadette Lewis with a work of art crafted by her missing granddaughter Kaylene a week before her disappearance. Photo: Sandile Ndlovu

To her family, Kaylene Lewis, 14, is a happy, shy and homely girl who loves spending time with them.

But police investigations and an online diary, “The secret life of Kaylene Lewis”, posted on the internet by the missing teenage schoolgirl, reveal otherwise.

Kaylene kept a diary on Facebook in which she wrote about being the subject of rumours at her school and her personal life.

On her latest post from March 28 she talked about a new friend she had met from her youth programme.

“He goes to my youth, he’s a very cool person and we shared an amazing day at the beach… sadly we didn’t last long we not speaking anymore but I guess its my fault for being so sensitive, I hope we become friends again because iv never felt so happy… I have Jesus in my life now and it is the most amazing thing that’s ever happened to me… Jesus is so good i wish people would accept him in their life… its holidays now which means its the last summer fling… (time to fall in love) I cannot say much anymore as I am to afraid… but all I can say is i love life (sic),” the post said.

Kaylene’s disappearance has shocked her family.

She lived with her grandmother, Bernadette Lewis, but spent weekends with her father, Quinton Lewis.

The disappearance is weighing heavily on Kaylene’s mother, Chantel Jordan.

“I can’t understand why Kaylene is missing. She never showed signs of unhappiness. Her father and granny show her lots of love and Kaylene always has positive things to say about them. It’s been really frustrating, it’s gone into day seven and I know police are doing everything they can.

“We have put out flyers everywhere and spoken to friends around the country.

“Every time the phone rings, I wonder what the message will be. Will it be that my girl is found or something bad has happened? Kaylene, please come home,” Jordan said.

Her grandmother said Kaylene would spend a lot of time on her computer, on Facebook and Mxit, and these were the main things police were looking at.

“She probably has her cellphone, but she has not been using it, so that makes it difficult to trace her. We had no idea she was on Mxit. We knew about Facebook and allowed her to use the site, but not to befriend boys over 16.

“Her father has access to her Facebook site and would often delete any male friends much older than her.

“We have also found out she had secretly kept another Facebook profile where she would interact with older guys,” she said.

“She was a lovely girl, but she wasn’t an outgoing person. Whenever she wanted to go out with friends she had to ask permission from either her father or myself. Kaylene has never been to a house party. She is not a party girl. Spending time with her father, aunt or me is what she preferred.

“Wherever she is, I hope she is being looked after, she is fed and warm. I just hope someone hasn’t done anything bad to her. That’s the part that kills me.

“Every now and then something sets us off into tears, but then we are strong again.

Bernadette said: “It’s been an amazing experience – one day you wake up and your loved one is missing. You hear and read about these kinds of things but never realise how close it is to your own doorstep.”

Allegations are that Kaylene was lured by someone she had made contact with on Facebook

Messages of concern have flooded the girl’s Facebook page, with bloggers urging her to make contact with her family, but to no avail.

Police believe they have strong leads, but were not prepared to comment further, saying they did not want to jeopardise their investigations.

“There is no more we can say at this stage,” said provincial spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge.

Gill Goddard, the deputy principal of Danville Park Girls’ High School, said in addition to prayer meetings that were being held daily at the school, a special assembly has been held in which the management, teachers and pupils united in prayer for Kaylene’s safe return to her family and friends.

“Kaylene is a valued member of our school community and we are very concerned about her disappearance.

“Danville is characterised by a particularly caring community and we are very grateful for the overwhelming support of parents and pupils who are providing both emotional and physical support for those close to Kaylene.” – Additional reporting by Mitchell Harper

Sunday Tribune